SOMA was founded in Mexico City in November 2009 at the initiative of a group of artists who had joined forces, resulting in a unique platform in the cultural field.
SOMA is an organization dedicated to cultural exchange and arts pedagogy. SOMA departs from the same interests that, more than a decade ago, motivated its founders to collaborate in spaces of contemporary art production and dissemination, such as La Panedería or Temístocles 44. SOMA is supported by a core group of artists and advisors, including critics, curators and other professionals in the cultural field.
SOMA’s task is to build a platform to collectively investigate what art can become and how it can work in different contexts. The pedagogical program seeks to create a space for horizontal, collective interaction and critical thinking, taking into account the many different creative communities of Mexico City.
SOMA facilities are not designed for the production or promotion of work. SOMA is a space for reconsideration and reflection, where students and participants have the opportunity to critically analyze their proposals and where revisiting the creative processes is encouraged. SOMA’s mission—promoting dialogue and discourse in our society and tracking the professional development of emerging artists—is conceived as three different programs:
1. Artistic Development Program: SOMA Academic Program
SOMA offers a two-year program imparted in Spanish targeted to contemporary artists and cultural producers interested in developing their practices. Participants in this program have access to a number of courses taught by leading artists and curators in the field of contemporary art in Mexico. SOMA stimulates an active and horizontal interaction among emerging artists and artists imparting the courses, by individual meetings, lectures, studio visits, among other activities. The program is directed by a diverse group of six artists. Funded by SOMA’s sponsors, the program awards grants of 90% of the tuition.
2. International Summer Program: SOMA Summer
During the months of July and August, SOMA offers an international eight-week summer program. Facilitated by artist Carla Herrera-Prats, the program is taught in English, and brings together a great group of artists, curators and art-historians from various latitudes who lead seminars and workshops. Every year SOMA Summer focuses on the examination and development of a specific topic. In an environment of intense work, participants have the opportunity to evaluate their practice through individual and group critiques, and to visit the studios of relevant artists in the international art world.
3. Public Program: Miércoles de SOMA
This program consists of a series of free lectures and/or presentations open to the public, in which specialists from different disciplines talk about their practices. The program has comprised panel discussions, artist talks, book launches, music events and live art projects, among others.
SOMA is a space to reflect and discuss about different art events occuring both at national and international levels. SOMA’s mission is to encourage dialogue, collaboration and even confrontation between artists and cultural producers from different backgrounds and generations. Through its programs in SOMA the aesthetic, political and social consequences of art production are analyzed collectively.
What does SOMA mean?
SOMA is not an acronym.
- An ancient drug used in some regions of India and the Middle East to bring collective hallucinations
- The substance supplied to the inhabitants of Brave New World, in Aldous Huxley novel
- Several possible acronyms, among which: The Secretary for Media and Art Organization
- A group therapy designed by Roberto Freire in Brazil, based on ideas of Wilhelm Reich
- Something about the body, for example: soma is the body of a neuron.