Established as an official Cultural Center of San Francisco in 1979, SOMArts Cultural Center’s mission is to promote and nurture art on the community level and foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures. SOMArts is a multicultural center that provides essential services and large-scale event and exhibition space in the heart of the city, as well as a darkroom, dance studio, printmaking studio, and flexible classroom and meeting spaces.
A former union ironworks machine shop, the Cultural Centers has received major renovations since its establishment in 1979 to make it one of San Francisco’s most beloved and unique arts spaces. The Center boasts of a dance studio, print studio, ceramic studio, two classrooms, three gallery spaces, a 180-seat theater, and various offices where multiple subtenant organizations reside such as ArtSpan and the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center.
Notable SOMArts programming includes Dia de los Muertos, a dynamic, free, five-week exhibition annually based on a theme with references to issues of cultural identity and social justice locally and globally. SOMArts boasts a robust exhibitions program––new group exhibitions are on view at SOMArts each month, and SOMArts produces up to three exhibitions per year through the Commons Curatorial Residency Program, amplifying the voices of many San Francisco artists, curators and cultural communities. Lastly, SOMArts Technical Services Program, which 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.