Calling Artists for Día de los Muertos 2016

Day of the Dead 2015
Installation by Victor-Mario Zaballa for Today is the Shadow of Tomorrow: Día de los Muertos 2015.

Important update: The deadline to submit proposals to participate in Día de los Muertos 2016 has been extended to 5 pm on Monday, August 22. Please join us for an informational meeting at SOMArts at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, August 10.

Feel free to reach out to SOMArts’ Gallery and Creative Partnerships Manager Carolina Quintanilla at with any questions and submit your proposal online here.

Now in its 17th year, SOMArts’ Day of the Dead exhibition is one of the most internationally diverse Día de los Muertos celebrations in the United States. Over the years, this group exhibition has brought together a wide variety of perspectives to honor, remember, and celebrate the dead. A Promise Not to Forget is dedicated to artist and activist Sylvia Parra and to curator René Yañez’s departed partner Cynthia Wallis. Known as Mamacoatl, Parra introduced the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to San Francisco. An artist in her own right, Wallis was a photographer and theater director for the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco. This theme is also a call to respond to recent incidents of violence — from Orlando to Baton Rouge and Minneapolis. To honor people who have unnecessarily lost their lives and to look towards the future we want to make for ourselves. Artists are invited to create artworks and altars with this theme in mind or to share their own personal visions.

SOMArts’ Day of the Dead exhibit mixes traditional Mexican altars and contemporary art installations. Past exhibits have included personal altars, interactive installations, and multimedia monuments. A Promise Not to Forget: Día de los Muertos 2016 is a great opportunity to explore the strengths of tradition and to honor the dead by utilizing both traditional and contemporary art practices in the creation of your work. Our exhibition space is designed and laid out by architect Nick Gomez. As the exhibit takes shape, please be aware that spaces designated to artists can change in planning.

Proposals must be received no later than 5pm on Monday, August 22, 2016 to be considered. Click here to submit your proposal online. If you need technical assistance, please email Carolina Quintanilla at with any questions.

Key Dates & Information

Monday, August 22, 5pm: Deadline for Submissions (Click here to submit a proposal online.)
Thursday, August 25: Artists notified of their application status
Wednesday, September 7, 6:30pm: Second Artist Meeting (required)
Saturday, October 1–Wednesday, October 5: Artists install
Friday, October 7, 6–9pm: Opening Reception
Saturday, November 5, 6–9pm: Closing Reception

Selected artists will be expected to install and maintain their installations and artworks. Please plan to make regular visits to SOMArts to make sure your installation is well maintained and functioning.

All involved with this exhibition take pride in the large attendance and community engagement at special events and during gallery hours. We ask that artists help in ways big and small to assist with outreach and publicity. Please help spread the word about the exhibition so that our audience continues to grow and diversify. There are volunteer opportunities at related events, in assistance with educational programming related to the show and print material distribution.