Call to Artists: Day of the Dead Exhibition 2013

What: Call to artists for installation work, altars & flat work to be exhibited in Imagining Time, Gathering Memory: Día de los Muertos 2013 (produced by SOMArts Cultural Center, exhibition and programming curated by René & Rio Yañez)

When: Submit a proposal online here by 5pm on Saturday, August 24, 2013 to be considered

How Much: No entry fee

What else: Don’t forget to attend the first informational meeting for artists on Tuesday, August 13, 6:30pm!  Click here to learn more about this annual exhibition.

Now in its 14th year, SOMArts’ Day of the Dead exhibition broke ground as one of the most internationally diverse Día de los Muertos celebrations in the United States. Over the years, this group exhibition has brought together countless perspectives on how the dead are honored and celebrated, and has given voice to both Bay Area and international artists from a breadth of cultural backgrounds.

This year’s theme “Imagining Time, Gathering Memory” looks closely at how time affects our art, our lives and our ability to gather memories. As the passage of time heals, how does it affect our memories? How much time do we have to respond and create for this exhibition? How much time do we need to gather memories? This year’s exhibition challenges participating artists to strike a balance between imagining time as a theme in relation to life and death, and to utilize memories to create altars to honor the dead and celebrate life.

In thinking about the theme, the exhibition’s curators ask that artists consider the events of the past year, such as the death of Trayvon Martin, violence in Oakland, and mass evictions in San Francisco, as well as their own personal experiences.

As a special focus and dedication, curators René and Rio Yañez are also asking artists to reflect on how cancer has touched our lives. This year the exhibit will be dedicated to those whose lives have been affected by cancer. Because cancer affects 1 in 4 people in the United States, sooner or later we are all likely to know someone who has cancer. The exhibition recognizes how time becomes a factor for those who are friends, caretakers, loved ones or those who have cancer themselves.

What sets SOMArts’ Day of the Dead exhibition apart from other similarly themed exhibitions is a mixture of traditional altars and contemporary multimedia art installations. Imagining Time, Gathering Memory: Dia de los Muertos 2013 is an equally great opportunity to explore the strengths of tradition and the wonders of technology in honoring the dead by utilizing both traditional and contemporary art practices in the creation of their work.

There will be an informational meeting for interested artists at SOMArts, 934 Brannan St. between 8th and 9th on Tuesday, August 13, 6:30pm–8pm.  Attendance is strongly suggested as René and Rio Yañez will discuss the materials that will be used to structure the exhibit, and the meeting will be an opportunity to meet fellow artists.

Proposals must be received no later than 5pm on Saturday, August 24th, 2013 to be considered. Click here to submit your proposal online. If you need technical assistance, please email Jennifer Nicholson at

Key Dates & Information:


First artist Meeting

Tuesday, August 13, 6:30pm–8pm

Deadline for submissions. Click here to submit a proposal online

Saturday, August 24, by 5pm

Artists notified of their application status

Thursday, August 29, by 5pm

Second Artist Meeting (required for participating artists)

Thursday, September 5, 6:30pm–8pm

Artists install

Saturday, October 5–Thursday, October 10, by 10pm

Opening Reception

Friday, October 11, 6–9pm


Selected artists will be expected to 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 at special events and during gallery hours, and 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..