- SOMA Summer 2016
- Application requirements
- Tuition and Housing
- Financial Aid
SOMA Summer is a unique eight-week program for international artists, curators, critics, and art historians, conducted in English in Mexico City.
SOMA Summer introduces participants to the dynamic art scene of Mexico City through visits to museums, openings, and artists’ studios. Designed to promote intense creative work and open dialogue, the program is built around a series of seminars and workshops led by renowned Mexican and international artists and curators. Participants meet weekly for individual critiques and discussion, as well as public events, site visits, and other activities in and around Mexico City.
SOMA is a space for reconsideration and reflection. Each SOMA Summer is organized around a specific conceptual framework that provides a compelling platform for artists who want to critically analyze their work, while developing new ideas. We stress the importance of the program content, and would discourage applicants who are looking primarily for a studio-based residency. SOMA’s facilities offer shared studio spaces. Although labs and workshops are not available, we do provide logistical support for producing work and organizing events within Mexico City.
All program activities are in English.
July 4 – August 25, 2016
Archive Fever, Jacques Derrida’s book on the power and politics of the archive, describes a perpetual tension between the will to secure documents that inscribe the past and the desire to share or disseminate them, even at the risk of loss. For the French philosopher, the archive is never a question of the past but a possibility of the future. During SOMA Summer 2016, we will focus on the use and production of documents in contemporary art, as way to expand the discussion of the archive that has been seminal in art practices for more than a decade. Along with scheduled lectures and seminars related to this topic, we will visit a number of important archives in Mexico City that will help us shape an image of the artistic scene in Latin America.
Application deadline: February 2, 2016
Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by April 4, 2016.
Using the online platform, please submit the following information as a a reduced size PDF file of 5 MB max:
- Artist Statement (max 800 words)
- Letter of interest (max 500 words)
- Short bio (max 300 words)
- Work sample (15 images of recent work and/or video in a vimeo/youtube link)
- Three references (name and contact info only)
- Copy of a valid passport
Successful applicants must demonstrate significant experience in their field and are expected to participate in all program activities. SOMA Summer welcomes artists, curators and art historians who are eager to reflect on their practices -and who are not focused on preparing work for exhibitions or other previous commitments and impending deadlines.
Tuition is $3,600 USD for the eight-week program, which does not cover accommodations, per diem or transportation.
Tuition can be paid in three installments:
I. $500 due May 2, 2016 (non-refundable)
II. $1,550 due June 6, 2016
III. $1,550 due July 4, 2016
$6,000 USD is a reasonable total budget approximation for your eight-week stay in Mexico City (including program tuition, housing, food, recreation, and transportation).
Participants find their own temporary housing, with the assistance of SOMA. This process begins upon acceptance into the program.
We are a small organization and, unfortunately, cannot provide full-tuition grants for SOMA Summer participants. The limited financial support available is distributed based on portfolio review and proof of financial need. This financial aid is usually granted in exchange for support with the logistics of the program, such as communication (internal and social media), documentation (photo and video), and overall planning (coordination with the group for visits and other activities). If you apply for financial aid, please provide a short statement indicating your interests and experience in these areas.
We are also happy to provide letters of support, should you apply for travel grants or funds from outside organizations.
When I arrived in DF for SOMA Summer 2011, I had been to the city twice before, but only for a few days each time. I applied largely for the opportunity to think about my work in a new context, but also for the selfish reason that it was a way to get back to Mexico City and stay there for a little while. One of the great successes of the program is that it combines a sustained high level of critical dialogue over a period of weeks – I had as many studio visits during 6 weeks at SOMA as I did in several years of graduate school – with immersion in a seemingly endless city, densely layered with history and culture. Looking back, I see the summer of 2011 as a key turning point in my artistic and intellectual development, in which I began to see my work within a larger context that goes beyond national borders (I also began to learn Spanish in earnest). The friendships and conversations that came out of that place and time have made Mexico City a place where part of me lives. Every time I go back, it feels less like a visit and more like a return.
Bill Abdale, SOMA Summer participant 2011
SOMA summer was a terrific experience. During the time I did many studio visits and 8 with crits with very experienced artists which was invaluabe feedback for my work. The guest lecturers were well chosen and covered a range of interest areas. While there I made a work Message to Salinas that was shown subsequently in Dublin, New York and Berlin and also had a show in Mexico the following year. SOMA were very supportive in facilitating getting work made which was important as its a bit daunting knowing where to go for what. I made many professional connections – I’m now a guest lecture at U.A.M. so am in Mexico every year and am still in contact with many from SOMA 2010 – we have a good network of sharing – I would never have thought it 3 years ago when I applied.
Elaine Byrne, SOMA Summer participant 2010
I participated in SOMA Summer 2012, focused on transformations in labor since the Second World War. Eight weeks of intense conversation, seminars, and visits to Mexico City’s dynamic museums and galleries gave me new perspective on my work, which continues to inform my art practice. SOMA mixes structured events with more informal, open gatherings, allowing for spontaneous connections with fellow participants and visiting artists. The relationships I made at SOMA continue to flourish. I am grateful for my time at SOMA and would highly recommend the experience.
Lakshmi Luthra, SOMA Summer participant 2012
SOMA is not for everyone. There are those among us who do not enjoy rigorous studio visits on the patio, critical discussions with peers over tacos, and artist talks with the option of a tequila. Luckily, I am not one of these people. SOMA impressed me with its unique combination of rigor and joie de vivre. From its array of brilliant tutors to the line up of site visits that contextualized the art world of Mexico City in a larger historical and cultural framework, SOMA offered the critical dialogue that I needed to shift my practice in an important and lasting way.
Huong Ngo, SOMA Summer participant 2014
I had the chance to participate in two versions of SOMA Summer, both were intense and incredible experiences. The quality of the seminars and discussions allowed me to have, for the first time in a while, a space for rigorous reflection beyond the school. I was able to address issues relevant to my artistic practice. It was a privilege to have access to reviews and revisions with prominent artists, curators and teachers from both Mexico and abroad. Beyond the network, SOMA is a space where participants have the opportunity to enrich and push their work to another level.
Cristina Ochoa, SOMA Summer participant 2011 and 2012
It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to be involved with SOMA Summer since its beginnings in 2010. I have seen firsthand the program grow and develop into the extraordinary and relevant curriculum that it is today. And I am one of a group of collaborators who has met and worked with almost all of SOMA Summer’s extremely bright and creative participants — many of these artists and curators I still keep in touch with today.
Each summer is structured around a given topic, and peppered with week-long rigorous seminars, intensive one-on-one studio visits, fascinating (and festive) lectures, and on-site exhibition and artist visits. Together these hands-on experiences combined with the generosity of the faculty and staff creates an intimate and intense environment where experimentation, critical discourse, and intellectual rigor are not only encouraged but demanded.
All this takes place in the capital of the Americas, Mexico City–that hybrid metropolis that resembles for me a combination of Los Angeles and Rome–a colonial cosmopolitan sprawl built over an ancient empire and steeped in colorful history and pride. What could be more inspiring and impactful on an aspiring artist or curator?
Tyler Rowland, Visiting artist 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013