Women visual artists respond to the question, “If you had a place of your own, what would it be?” in an exhibition rooted in arts-based healing and transformation.
"Reclaim" by Laura Ming Wong, 2015

Brianna Nelson, Communications &
Community Engagement Coordinator,
415-863-1414 x103,

SOMArts Cultural Center Presents

Exhibition November 19–December 11, 2015

Opening Event Thursday, November 19, 6–9pm
Women visual artists respond to the question, “If you had a place of your own, what would it be?” in an exhibition rooted in healing and transformation

October 8, 2015, San Francisco, CA—SOMArts Cultural Center presents A Place of Her Own, a group visual art exhibition featuring more than 30 artworks and large-scale installations that excavate the vibrant dreams and hopes of women. On view with accompanying public programming November 19 to December 11, 2015, A Place of Her Own amplifies the voices of 20 women artists with diverse cultural perspectives ranging in age from 24 to 89 years old. Each piece in the exhibition is a courageous visual answer to the question, “If you had a place of your own, what would it be?”

Exhibited artworks—marked by a saturation of color, imaginative use of materials and visual storytelling—highlight the personal, yet universal, journey to seek out and claim a place without external rules or expectations. Accompanying events and interactive installations invite the audience to join the journey.

A Place of Her Own, opening with a free public reception on Thursday, November 19, 6pm to 9pm, is the first of three SOMArts Commons Curatorial Residency exhibitions in the 2015–2016 season. Residency recipient and curator Cynthia Tom is driven by an abiding passion to spotlight issues facing Asian American women and develop artistic forums that heal and transform. Leading up to this exhibition, Tom facilitated a number of workshops with artists based on intuitive and healing art practices that stoked the ideas realized in the exhibited artworks. The A Place of Her Own exhibition at SOMArts also offers audiences an opportunity to tap into their inner wisdom and personal strengths through hands-on art-making. While visiting the public can participate in three intuitive, self-guided art-making workstations.

From large-scale installations to miniatures, written word, painting, found object assemblage and sculpture, exhibiting artists consider their own cultural and gender identities, process trauma and celebrate their personal power to overcome and to heal. Intended to inspire, excite and ignite, the work innovatively combines mixed media and visual storytelling, insisting upon new ways to re-imagine our individual place in the world.

Reiko Fujii’s “Curating Joy” is a library card catalog of hundreds of joyful thoughts and images as an exercise in emotional delight. For Fujii this installation was a direct result of facing her darkness and disarming its power.

Maggie Yee has never lived alone, even after leaving her father’s home when she was 14. “Studio Euphoria” finally brings her to a place where she can settle in and create with no responsibilities. She filled a miniature studio with her favorite things, making them by hand and using found objects.

“Aligning Elevation” by Manon Bogerd Wada features the transformation of personal family furniture. Inspired by traditional Thai houses, four chairs are elevated sixteen feet side by side with the addition of handmade stilts for their legs and extensions of ladders from their backs. The paralleled growth of these chairs speaks to home, well being, and strength of family.

Tom immerses visitors inside her installation Maps of Consciousness." Larger than life paintings float in the space, surrounding visitors with saturated hues of green abundance. Tom has spent this past year overcoming 15 years on antidepressants and sleeping pills. Pushing through a deep depression and debilitating anxiety, she shares her personal journey through this work.


November 19–December 11, 2015
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm & Saturday 12–5pm, Closed November 26-28 for Thanksgiving

Opening Reception
Thursday, November 19, 6–9pm
See the dreams of women brought to life through soul-inspiring sound sculpture, a forest of giant intuitive paintings, and an enormous landscape of hand-built chairs and ladders. Surrounded by art inspired by hope for the future, visitors are invited to join the journey through participation in three self-guided art-making workstations.

Artist-led Tour
Sunday, December 6, 1–4pm
Each artist will share the intimate story of her journey leading to the creation of A Place of Her Own. Viewers will have the opportunity to ask questions about anything that puzzles them or that has aroused their curiosity, as well as the opportunity to participate in three self-guided art-making workstations.

Closing Reception
Thursday, December 10, 6:30–8:30pm
A Place of Her Own Closing Reception is intended to be a community celebration with the artists and curators. Visitors who participated in three self-guided art-making workstations while visiting the exhibition or attending other public events are encouraged to bring back the artworks they created for sharing and discussion.

The exhibition and all related events take place at SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th Streets), San Francisco, CA, 94103, unless otherwise noted. SOMArts is wheelchair/ADA accessible. To attend a Press Preview, Thursday, November 19, 5–6pm, prior to the public reception, email


Curators & Artists:
Cynthia Tom (Lead Curator)
Manon Bogerd Wada
Irene Wibawa
Adrienne Yan
Maggie Yee

Curatorial Associates & Artists:
Susan Almazol
Sigi Arnejo
Reiko Fujii

Nancy Arvold
Rachel Endoso
Evangeline Iyemura
Marlene Iyemura
Sujung Min
Natalie Sacramento
Isabelle Thuy Pelaud
Sue Tom
Dechen Tsering
Hediana Utarti
Phuong Vuong
Laura Ming Wong


The Commons Curatorial Residency Program nurtures a creative cultural environment in the Bay Area by providing space and support for exhibitions that take risks, promote cultural connectivity and learning, and instigate accessible, multifaceted participation in the arts. Selected artists and groups receive support consisting of a $3,000 grant, a month-long exhibition at SOMArts, 80+ hours of technical assistance, and help with traditional and social media outreach to connect their work with new audiences. Through this support, Bay Area artists can engage the community, expand their practice and turn vision into reality.


SOMArts Cultural Center, founded in 1979, 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 plays a vital role in the arts ecosystem by helping activate the arts citywide. We do this by providing space and production support for non-profit events, as well as fairs and festivals throughout the Bay Area, and offering a robust program of art exhibitions, classes, events and performances that are affordable and accessible to all. SOMArts’ exhibition programs receive critical support from the San Francisco Arts Commission and The San Francisco Foundation, and are sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts.

SOMArts is located at 934 Brannan Street—between 8th and 9th—within 2 blocks of 101, I-80, Muni lines and bike paths. For public information call 415-863-1414 or visit Stay connected by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.



"Experiment D14-15: This Is Still Life" Irene Wibawa, click here to download a high-res version
"Studio Euphoria" Maggie Yee, click here to download a high-res version
"Curating Joy" Reiko Fujii, click here to download a high-res version

"Thirsty Ghosts" Manon Bogerd Wada, click here to download a high-res version

"Knitting Together Community" Nancy Arvold, click here to download a high-res version
"The Wishing Tree" Workstation 3, click here to download a high-res version
Copyright © 2015 SOMArts Cultural Center, All rights reserved.

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