In addition to the many events that take place at SOMArts in connection with Main Gallery exhibitions and Affordable Space Program‘s below-market rentals, SOMArts produces a variety of programs and artist residencies. Most work at SOMArts combines the goals of promoting accessibility to the arts on all levels—from beginners to emerging professionals to experienced practitioners—and creating a vibrant environment where people can discover and celebrate many cultures through the arts.
City Studio, a collaboration with the San Francisco Art Insitute, offers art classes to underserved youth, in their own neighborhoods and ultimately, to assist them in preparing a portfolio for application to college. Student’s will have the opportunity to work with today’s leading artists, learn new art making techniques and earn a stipend at the completion of the semester. Students at SOMArts study ceramics with teaching artist Allison Taylor and media literacy with Sally Widdowson.
Dia de los Muertos offers a dynamic, free, five-week exhibition annually based on a theme with references to issues of cultural identity and social justice locally and globally. Annual attendance is over 2,000 in addition to docent-led tours and arts workshops that serve 20-30 schools and 400+ K-12 students.
The Neighborhood News Network, a collaboration with the Bay Area Video Coalition, offers SOMArts Neighborhood News Fellows the opportunity to build skills in video production, news gathering and reporting as the first step in developing a unique news system that will broadcast community-produced news, performances, exhibitions and neighborhood events from local art and cultural centers.
Through the Professional Development Series, SOMArts collaborates with local and national nonprofits to provide free professional development opportunities to artists. In the past two years, SOMArts has provided outreach support and free space through collaborations with ArtSpan, the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, Emerging Arts Professionals/San Francisco Bay Area and New York Foundation for the Arts, helping artists find resources connected to career development, healthcare, funding and publicity.
SOMArts Studio Series partners with individual artists and organizations to offer events and workshops that encourage contemporary art-making opportunities for artists at all levels of practice. 2011 programming includes Feast of Words: A Literary Potluck on the first Tuesday of each month, and SQUART! (Spontaneous Queer Art), with choreographer Laura Arrington and THEOFFCENTER.
The SOMArts Technical Services Program offers wheelchair-accessible lifts, staging, pa systems and consultation for San Francisco’s many street fairs and festivals ranging from small neighborhood film screenings to San Francisco Pride to the Chinatown New Year Parade. The program has a rich history and has been working with most arts and culture festivals since their grassroots beginnings.