Announcing the recipients of the 2016-2017 SOMArts Curatorial Residency.

From top to bottom: Sasha Petrenko, Lessons from the Forest, Digital video still, 2015; Lyric Seal & Nikki Silver, Mother's Milk, Film Still, 2015; Joseph Tagliatela, Ode To Sex Worker, Monoprint, 2015; Ramekon O'arwisters, In the folds there lives our tales, Photo by Robbie Sweeny, 2015.

Sarah Pritchard, 415-863-1414 x103,

SOMArts Cultural Center Announces
The 2016-2017 season of the SOMArts Curatorial Residency

Three artist-led exhibitions embody the diversity of the Bay Area through multi-disciplinary inquiry into pressing social issues.

San Francisco, CA, August 15, 2016 — Today, SOMArts Cultural Center's Executive Director Maria Jenson announced the three newest recipients of the SOMArts Curatorial Residency. The residency, entering its seventh year, is a year-long incubator for exhibition research, planning, installation and realization. Formerly known as the Commons Curatorial Residency, the program supports emerging and established Bay Area artists to take big risks — creating multi-faceted exhibitions focused on critical social issues in one of San Francisco's largest open gallery spaces.

Residents are selected by an advisory panel through a proposal process that includes a series of interactive information sessions and access to individual consultation from SOMArts' staff. In addition to the creative strength of the proposal, applicants must demonstrate how their exhibition serves a local cultural community, provides dynamic opportunities for exchange and engagement, and furthers SOMArts' mission to foster fair inclusion, cultural respect and civic participation in the Bay Area.

The 2016-17 SOMArts Curatorial Residency Advisory Committee included: Rhiannon MacFadyen (A Simple Collective), Katya Min (YBCA), Natalia Mount (Pro Arts Gallery), and Jess Young (SOMArts Cultural Center). 

The following residencies will each culminate in a month-long exhibition and are integral to SOMArts’ exhibition programming in 2016-17:

James Fleming and Kelly Lovemonster, Touch On: Aesthetics in the Art, Politics and Ontology of Touch, December 1, 2016–January 14, 2017
Maxine Holloway, Rob Fatal, and Javier Luis Hurtado, We're Still Working: The Art of Sex Work, January 26–February 25, 2017

The New Urban Naturalists, FOREIGN LANGUAGE MAGIC WORD MOTHER TONGUE, March 9–April 8, 2017 

Maria Jenson, who joined SOMArts as Executive Director in May 2016, commented, "I am thrilled to witness my first season of SOMArts Curatorial Residencies with this group of artist curators who embody the cultural diversity and creative risk-taking that makes the Bay Area so unique."

Selected curators receive a curatorial stipend of $5,000, and more than 100 hours of support from SOMArts staff including: planning & installation assistance, community engagement support, audio/video/lighting assistance, grants consultation, and ongoing project support for 9–12 months. Many past residents cite the experience as one where they received unprecedented publicity and achieved a long-held artistic goal.

About Touch On

Touch On is a series intended to empower and activate the curators' carefully chosen cohort of artists, performers, and panelists to reconsider touch and its ancillary forms and aspects. Through interactive sculptures, traditional art, dialogues and digital mediums alike, the exhibition explores the aesthetics of touch in hopes of generating new definitions for the way we perceive and engage touch.

Exhibition: December 1, 2016–January 14, 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, December 1, 6–9pm
Artist & Curator Panel Discussion: Thursday, December 15, 6–8pm
Closing Reception: Thursday, January 12, 6–9pm

Curators: James Fleming and Kelly Lovemonster

About We're Still Working

We’re Still Working: The Art of Sex Work fills in what the history books and media stories have lost. Sex workers have a long and beautiful history of fighting for justice, visibility and respect, while working in solidarity with other struggles. Yet the sex worker is often distorted or erased in the final account. We’re Still Working honors the lives and stories of the sex trade through this collection of visual and performance art made by, and in celebration of, sex workers. This project recognizes workers and our intersecting communities as an important part of Bay Area culture, and honors sexual labor as an integral part of history and artistic legacy. We strongly believe that placing workers at the center of their own narrative is one of the best ways to fight for sex worker justice. We’re Still Working provides a platform for the brush, the camera, the mic, the sequins and sweat to insist that sex work is not only work, but also can be art. Let us show you who we are.

Exhibition: January 26–Saturday, February 25, 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 26, 6–9pm
Sex Worker Symposium & Panel: Saturday, February 4, 12–4pm
'You Dress Like a Whore' Fashion Show: Friday, February 17, 6–9pm

Curators: Maxine Holloway, Rob Fatal, and Javier Luis Hurtado


Language can bring us together or separate us. Language allows us to communicate as well as to miscommunicate. What happens when language disappears? When we lose the ability to communicate it can feel like we are losing ourselves. Imagine a poly-lingual society with more modes of communication and more tools to make meaning. FOREIGN LANGUAGE MAGIC WORD MOTHER TONGUE (MAGIC WORD) is a poly-lingual exhibition, public workshop and performance series featuring artists and performers investigating the ways in which language forms our culture, society and sense of self. MAGIC WORD will engage multi-generational and multi-lingual audiences through interdisciplinary and participatory projects exploring language — ours, yours, ancient and evolving. Language diversity reflects cultural diversity. Like species diversity in a forest, the greater variety of ways in which we can communicate, the more chance we have to understand.

Exhibition: March 9–April 8, 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 9, 6–9pm
Artist Talk & Performance: Saturday, March 18, 12–3pm
Closing Reception: Thursday, April 6 , 6–9pm

Curators: The New Urban Naturalists

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 they 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.


Copyright © 2016 SOMArts Cultural Center, All rights reserved.

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