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SOMA Pilipinas Call for Public Art 

SOMA Pilipinas is  commissioning initial concepts for a public art portfolio for designs for future projects including:


Signage and Public Realm Markers



SOMA Pilipinas is interested in creating an expressive and culturally significant portfolio that reflects the people, vision, experiences and/or history of the South of Market. Applicants may be established veteran artists, emerging artists, urban designers, architects or even members of the community that do not necessarily have an arts background. Individuals or collectives may apply for the program however a collective must apply with a lead artist as the main applicant.

Proposals will be sought in a two-stage process: first, we will make a call for qualifications, which does not require a specific proposal, but asks for a letter of interest, initial concepts, and a portfolio of your past work. Second, based on those submissions, we will select finalists to commission to make conceptual designs in the aforementioned categories. 

Selected finalists will receive a small commission ranging from $500-900 depending on the project.  Chosen designs may be included in SOMA Pilipinas’ public realm portfolio that will be presented to the public, funders, stakeholders, as well as to city officials and developers for potential implementation in the future.

One application is allowed per design project. Applicants may apply for multiple projects. Applicants will be selected  by a panel and experts in the public realm field. Feedback will be made available to applicants on their proposals.


SOMA Pilipinas is in the Heart (SPH) is a public art planning process, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), that will strengthen SOMA Pilipinas - San Francisco Pilipino Cultural Heritage District’s cultural resources and visibility through strategic assessments of the neighborhood landscape, available resources and best practices. This planning process includes the creation of a portfolio of potential projects that can be leveraged as district organizers negotiate with developers, the city, and major institutions. Together with the cultural district’s fiscal sponsor, Filipino-American Development Foundation (FADF), SOMA Pilipinas will draw on advisement of the SFAC’s Public Arts Program and engage key stakeholder organizations such as Kularts and SOMCAN, residents, and Filipino artists--including emerging, master, and youth artists. 

FADF and SOMA Pilipinas will focus on a continuation of the initial phase of the larger SPH project so that our priority goals of a strategic public art plan and portfolio of initial designs can be realized. The district has negotiated commitments from specific sites-in-development and has identified key locations for public realm projects. These plans will be realized with community-led vision and artistic framework in place. In the past two years SOMA Pilipinas has undergone a community process, with the help of volunteer committee members, other organizations like SOMCAN and in collaboration with non-profit developers, we’ve held design charrettes, urban design workshops and surveyed community members, residents, workers, artists, etc. to identify potential iconography and symbolism that may be incorporated into public realm and public art projects, such as:



Filipino fruits & vegetables

Animals (sarimanok, carabao, etc.)


Iconic Philippine landscapes

Materials (bamboo, capiz, etc.) 


While proposed concepts are not required to include these cultural markers, these reflect community discussions to-date and are guideposts for selections and discussions about proposals.

How to Apply

Submit a letter of intent & up to 5 images of past work by the deadline Monday, August 12, 2019- 5pm to with the subject line: “SOMA Pilipinas is in the Heart - (Insert First Name and Last name) LOI”. 

In the letter, include the project design you’d like to submit for (i.e. Gateway, Signage and Public Realm Markers, Plaques, Crosswalks), and any initial concepts or direction you may have. Please detail any past experience that might support your application. This includes but isn’t limited to: art, design, community planning background, participation in any design charrettes or workshops, and/or any relevant information that supports your relationship to the Pilipinx community in SOMA organizationally and individually.

Images of past work should  be geared toward giving the review panel a sense of your artistic skill, ability to explore concepts, and exploration of relevant cultural themes. Please do not send proposed designs for new public art at this stage--proposals will be commissioned if you are selected. Images should be sent as .jpgs or links to specific, hosted image files. Please do not send full websites for review.

Monday, August 12, 2019 - LOI due

Friday, August 30, 2019 - Applicants informed of the opportunity to submit design proposals

Monday, September 23, 2019 - Design proposal are due

December 2019 - NEA SOMA Pilipinas Portfolio completed

For more information on SOMA Pilpinas visit:

For any questions please email Rachel Lastimosa - Arts and Culture Administrator at