Curatorial Residency



Please note: for individual artist opportunities throughout the year,  join the SOMArts eGroup or visit the opportunities page for regular updates.

SOMArts Cultural Center embarks on its fifth year of amplifying curatorial voices through the Commons Curatorial Residency Program. This 9-month incubator has supported a wide range of artists, curators and cultural communities ranging from WorkMORE! #6 (Mica Sigourney, 2014) to Mourning & Scars: 20 Years After The War (Roxana Leiva, 2013), to Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze (Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art, 2011).

We seek:
Proposals from Bay Area individuals and collectives who reflect the Bay Area’s many dimensions of diversity including race, class, cultural heritage, artistic expression, ability, gender identity & sexual orientation.

We provide:
a $3,000 curator honorarium
publicity support including distribution of a press release
help with traditional and social media marketing
a set budget for gallery signage including vinyl
insurance up to $150,000 total for artwork while it is at SOMArts
physical assistance in preparing the space
an opening reception
assistance with up to two public events (such as a talk or workshop) connected to the exhibition

At this time we do not provide (or pay for):
transportation of artworks to SOMArts
installation construction

Please read through all documents, including the FAQ, carefully. Below is a list of Q&A sessions (online and in person) where artists can get help with the application. ALL LETTERS OF INTENT MUST BE RECEIVED VIA ONLINE SUBMISSION BY 11:59PM ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2014. No late applications will be accepted, we strongly recommend submitting your proposal at least one week early.

The LOI stands as a preliminary view of the larger project and will be evaluated in consultation with an advisory panel of arts professionals, artists, and curators for full invitation.  Full proposal submission is by invitation only.

Click here to access online LOI application.

The LOI stands as a preliminary view of the larger project and will be evaluated in consultation with an advisory panel of arts professionals, artists, and curators for full invitation.  Full proposal submission is by invitation only.

SOMArts staff is available to answer questions during the scheduled meeting times below. Please review the following documents carefully before contacting staff with questions. Or download the sample application guidelines as a reference: Letter of Intent Information and Guidelines.

The following downloadable documents are for informational purposes.  Please refer to the Letter of Intent online application for application instructions. Budget is not required for LOI: Floor Plan, Work Sample Disclaimer and Budget.


Monday, September 22, 6:30pm to 8:30pm: In-person gallery tour with Question-and-Answer Session held at SOMArts. Come and see the facilities at SOMArts, get a sense of the gallery space, meet the Gallery Director, and ask questions about the application process.

Tuesday, September 30 at noon and Wednesday, October 1 at 7:00pm: Online Info Sessions
 A virtual opportunity to talk directly to The Commons program organizers and ask any questions you might have about the application process.
RSVP is required.

Saturday, October 4 2014: Computer assistance available from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. Sign-up required at least 48hrs in advance by calling 415-863-1414 x110.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014: Letter of Intent is due by 11:59pm.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014: Selected applicants are invited to submit a full application.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014: Full applications are due via online submission by 5:00pm.

Monday, February 23, 2015: Artists invited to submit full applications are notified of the status of their application.


2016 Commons Curatorial Residency #1
Friday, January 8—Saturday, February 6, opening reception Thursday, January 7

2016 Commons Curatorial Residency #2
Friday, February 19–Thursday, March 17, opening reception Thursday February 18

2016 Commons residency #3
Friday, April 1–Thursday, April 28, opening reception Thursday March 31


March 29–April 24, 2014 | Work MORE! #6  | Main Gallery | Photos

February 22–March 22, 2014 | Hidden Cities | Main Gallery | Photos

January 14–February 13, 2014 | All Possible Futures | Main Gallery | Photos

April 5–26, 2013 | Dial Collect |   Photos

March 8–29, 2013 | Overturn the Artifice Photos

February 1–28, 2013 | Mourning & Scars: 20 Years After the War | Photos

July 6–28, 2012 | Performing Community | Photos

February 3–29, 2012 | At War  | Photos

November 4–30, 2011 | Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze | Photos

July 1–July 29, 2011 | The Book | Photos

April 8–28, 2011  |  Spread: California Conceptualism Then and Now  |  Photos

March 5–31, 2011 | Breathed…Unsaid… | Photos

February 4–24, 2011 | A Sensory Feast | Photos

November 5–30, 2010 | I Live Here: SF  | Photos