About

Choreographer-in-Residence Ana Maria Alvarez rehearses “Agua Furiosa” with dancers Jeremiah Buren, Isis Avalos and Sarah Culberson, Annenberg Community Beach House, 2014

Santa Monica Cultural Affairs (SMCA) connects people to art. We do that by distributing grants that support local arts organizations, schools and artists. We create and promote art experiences. We steward and grow the City’s notable public art collection. And we work with and for the communities of Santa Monica to leverage the power of art for change.

Leadership

Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Staff

Santa Monica Arts Commission

Art is a critical component of life in Santa Monica. And we always need more art. The Santa Monica Arts Commission is an 11-member advisory body appointed by the City Council, whose goal is to encourage the flow of art into the City. We’d love to hear your ideas on how we can do that even better. Please join us at one of our meetings.

We meet the third Monday of each month, Ken Edwards Center, 6:30 p.m.

Details and Agendas

Public Art Committee

The Public Art Committee is a standing committee of the Arts Commission, made up of three Arts Commissioners and six community members that possess a variety of expertise related to public art. The Public Art Committee provides recommendations to the Arts Commission on artist selection for Percent for Art Commissions and the Percent for Art Budget.

We meet the third Monday of each month, Ken Edwards Center, 5:00 p.m.

“Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.”

Policy & Planning

Cultural Policy

The City's Cultural Policies exist to support our artistic legacy, while creating space for new artistic voices to flourish. Santa Monica Cultural Affairs helps shape those policies through listening to our community. We learn what’s important, then work hard to bring it to fruition. There’s nothing like seeing something beautiful that you helped create come to life.

Cultural Planning

We’re always looking for ways to remain fresh. That’s why we’re excited to be working on our next Cultural Plan. This process will help craft a collective vision for the future of art in Santa Monica, and will seek input from our valued community members. That means you! Stay tuned.

“Art and love are the same thing: it’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.”

FAQs

Q: Where can I rent space in Santa Monica for my rehearsal/performance/concert/exhibit/fundraiser?

City-managed resources: Park building rentals, City Outdoor Event PermitsMiles PlayhouseCivic AuditoriumAnnenberg Community Beach HouseLibrary

Non-City resources: Moss TheaterBroad StageSanta Monica PlayhouseSanta Monica Bay Womens ClubSM Place/MacerichSanta Monica PierSpacefinder LA

Q: Where can I rent an art studio in Santa Monica? 

The City rents studio spaces at the Santa Monica Airport, with very infrequent vacancies. They’re managed by 18th Street Art Center, which also runs a residency program. The City also offers temporary residencies to local artists and support to Santa Monica-based nonprofits through our Artist Opportunity programs and you are welcome to join our email list to be informed of future opportunities. 

Q: How can I propose a program to be presented by Santa Monica Cultural Affairs? 

A: SMCA produces a variety of events in local parks and City cultural facilities, and infrequently adds new programs or sponsors one-time events. We provide support to local artists and Santa Monica-based nonprofits through our Artist Opportunity programs and you are welcome to join our email list to be informed of future opportunities. You can also propose a program to the Santa Monica Library. If you decide to self-produce a large (more than 150 person) event outdoors, you would need to file for a City of Santa Monica Community Event Permit. If you’d like to present an ongoing class or other participatory activity, you can also direct inquiries to communityclasses@smgov.net. See the “rent space” question above for details on other venues.

Q: What do I need to do to film in Santa Monica? 

Visit the City’s film permitting page.

Q: My band/food truck/workshop is available for booking, who can I send info to? 

You can send an electronic press kit to culture@smgov.net for annual consideration for various festivals and series. We are not able to respond to the many applications received, but you may be contacted if there is a suitable opportunity. Jazz ensembles can apply for the annual Jazz on the Lawn program, more info here. The City also offers other occasional opportunities to our email list. Bands may apply to play at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, however these are unpaid opportunities. Bands may also propose a program to the Santa Monica Library.

Q: How do I find out about local art events? 

Please subscribe to our email lists for information about upcoming events produced by Santa Monica Cultural Affairs, or here for events at the Annenberg Community Beach House. For other events visit https://www.santamonica.com/events. You may also be interested in discoverlosangeles.com.

Q: Can you promote my art/culture event?

SMCA only promotes grantee and local arts agency events on social media. If the event takes place in Santa Monica, you can propose it to the Palette, which features five events a week, by emailing Artpalette.mailbox@smgov.net with all event details and an image. You can also post your event to Los Angeles Culture Net,  santamonica.com and discoverlosangeles.com. If you are a Santa Monica based art business with a Santa Monica business license, you can get a free landing page at SantaMonica.com. For more information, visit: santamonica.com/partner-portal.

Q: I’d like to propose/create a mural.

Artists interested in being commissioned should sign up for the Artist Roster. Mural sponsors can inquire at culture@smgov.net - on private property SMCA can help you determine requirements, and on public property we welcome project suggestions.

Q: Are there places to take classes in printmaking/pottery/metalwork/painting/etc in the area? 

Brentwood Art CenterCamera Obscura Art LabPaint:LabThe ClayhouseSMC Community Education, SMC EmeritusSMC ArtPrecious Metal ArtsMoonlight GlassJosephine Press