SomArts Cultural Center

From Collective Memory: Art & Activism Archive
Jump to: navigation, search


SOMArts (South of Market Arts, Resources, Technology, and Services) is an independent nonprofit that operates the South of Market Cultural Center, part of a network of six cultural centers in San Francisco which includes Bayview Opera House, the African American Arts & Culture Complex, Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, Queer Cultural Center and Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

SOMArts is beloved in San Francisco as a cross-cultural, community-built space where cutting-edge events and counterculture commingle with traditional art forms in a way that is open, engaging and inspiring. It is an incubator for ideas that lie outside the mainstream of contemporary art funding and consumption.

Our mission: SOMArts cultivates access to the arts within the Bay Area by collaborating with community-focused artists and organizations. Together, we engage the power of the arts to provoke just and fair inclusion, cultural respect, and civic participation.

SOMArts’ annual artistic programs include 3-5 exhibitions curated by SOMArts staff, 3 curatorial residencies in the Main Gallery, 12-18 exhibitions by solo artists and groups in the Ramp Gallery, free youth programming developed in collaboration with SFAI City Studio, an annual Dia de los Muertos exhibition and performance series, a monthly free professional development series for artists co-presented with ArtSpan, the monthly queer performance series The News, and three to four exhibition-related performances and workshops each month.

Within these programs, SOMArts serves an audience of over 32,600 people on-site each year and provides tours and workshops to over 28 classrooms (16 different schools), utilizing over 2,740 volunteer hours.

In addition to productions and presentations, SOMArts provides extensive support services to Bay Area arts and culture nonprofits. The Affordable Space Program provides below-market rental space and production assistance to over 80 nonprofits annually, hosting their exhibitions, performances, and events and providing technical production services such as livestreaming video to public-access television. SOMArts fiscally sponsors 10-15 emerging organizations and artist projects annually. Neighborhood Arts Services teaches young adults staging skills while providing stages, wheelchair-accessible lifts and sound systems to cultural fairs and festivals throughout the city.

VENUE The South of Market Cultural Center is a 26,190 sq ft cultural center with two large performance/exhibition spaces, a flexible theater, a media lab, photography, ceramics and printmaking studios used on a weekly basis by professional artists, and four administrative offices.

AUDIENCES/CONSTITUENTS ANNUALLY SERVED 20,495 visitors attended free workshops, performances and exhibitions 12,123 visitors attended ticketed events with an average price of only $6.46 64 classes toured exhibitions 33 new works were commissioned 32 Bay Area nonprofits used SOMArts stages, wheelchair lifts and PA systems to provide free entertainment at street fairs and festivals 10 exhibitions in the Main Gallery with over 30 free talks, workshops and events 13 exhibitions featured over 30 artists in the Ramp Gallery 10 organizations and artist projects received fiscal sponsorship



934 Brannan St.

Contact Information

(415) 863-1414


community artists and activist

Dates of Operation


Type of Space


Community Served

local bay area artists

Additional Information and Resources

About this Article

This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.