SOMArts Cultural Center – which provides space and production support to more than 100 nonprofit events, and offers no- and low-cost art exhibitions, performances, and classes – hired Maria Jenson as its executive director last month.
SOMArts is one of six City-supported cultural centers, attracting in excess of 30,000 visitors annually to its 934 Brannan Street location. Jenson’s portfolio includes collaborating with other arts groups and artists, and caring for the municipally-owned facility. “The San Francisco Arts Commission is thrilled that the SOMArts board has selected Maria Jenson as its new executive director,” said San Francisco director of cultural affairs Tom DeCaigny. “Beyond Maria’s impressive resume, she brings with her an inclusive spirit and a proven track record of bridging communities through dynamic and accessible arts programming. We’re confident that under her demonstrated leadership SOMArts will thrive toward its mission of being a vital resource for our local and regional arts and culture community.”
Jenson has deep roots in the Bay Area visual arts community. She comes to SOMArts from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where she served as community relations and public partnerships manager, most recently working on last month’s reopening of the institution after its $300 million expansion. Prior to SFMOMA, Jenson was the founding director of ArtPadSF, an independent art fair that transformed the Phoenix Hotel into an immersive and interactive platform to engage Bay Area artists, gallerists and art lovers.
Jenson participates in Steward of Arts for a Better Bay Area, a coalition of San Francisco arts practitioners that successfully advocated for an unprecedented $7 million increase in arts funding in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 San Francisco municipal budget.
“Maria Jenson’s demonstrated commitment to creating a nurturing and sustainable environment for Bay Area artists and arts organizations will help SOMArts build on a 37 year history of providing support services and producing bold, socially engaged art for diverse audiences,” said Brian Freeman, SOMArts’ board of directors president.