Camera Obscura Art Lab

Coronavirus update

The LA County Department of Public Health continues to prohibit indoor and outdoor gatherings and events. In addition to this order, the City of Santa Monica has had to implement budget cuts due to the deficits projected for the coming year. As a result, all City events produced by Cultural Affairs have been cancelled for 2020, and the Camera Obscura Art Lab is currently closed to the public. The Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program is still up and running and the AiR Workshops have moved online. Please continue to visit this page for Artist-in-Residence information, opportunities and our online workshops. 

Although we won’t be presenting in-person events this year, Cultural Affairs has launched Art of Recovery, a program that will fund art projects that contribute to our City’s recovery efforts. You can also sign up to receive our occasional Artist Opportunity eblasts that feature programs like this, fellowships, residencies, calls for proposals, and more. Sign up HERE and click on ‘Artist Opportunities’. 

Stay up-to-date on COVID-19 related re-openings and service changes for the City of Santa Monica at, and countywide at 

Community arts practice space

The Camera Obscura Art Lab in Palisades Park is Santa Monica’s community arts practice space, where all are invited to find a new perspective! Community members work with local artists to learn and hone their skills, meet their neighbors and share projects. The Camera hosts an ever-changing roster of artists-in-residence, and offers workshops for adults, artist events, pop-up exhibits and more.

We’re located at:

1450 Ocean Ave.
Palisades Park
Santa Monica, CA 90401


The Camera Obscura Mechanism

Built in 1898 by Mayor Robert F. Jones to attract tourists and visitors, Santa Monica’s Camera Obscura mechanism was incorporated into its current home in 1955. 

The Camera Obscura Facility

This mid-century modern building on the bluffs was designed by noted architect Weldon J. Fulton and made possible by a gift from Santa Monica resident Marcellus Joslyn. Due to COVID-19 the Camera Obscura building is closed to the public.


Santa Monica Cultural Affairs presents

Chuck Hohng and Matt Reynolds: New Works

September 10, 2020 - October 11, 2020

Online Event sponsored by  the Camera Obscura Art Lab

Studio Residents, Chuck Hohng and Matt Reynolds exhibit new work created at the Camera Obscura Art Lab during their May 27 – August 27, 2020 tenure. 

Current Resident Artist(s)

This Fall 2020, Jenny Ziomek and Laura Davis take residence.

    • Jenny Ziomek

      Jenny Ziomek is an artist and illustrator whose paintings, artist books, and comics have been exhibited across North America. She has done artwork and illustration for a wide range of projects, including graphic novels, children’s books, magazines, fashion and film. A former teacher, Jenny is now a Teaching Artist at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

    • Laura Davis

      Laura Davis uses natural dyes on textiles, paper, and leather to create both functional and decorative pieces. Her practice includes researching historic and contemporary methods of making dyes from natural materials like plants and insects. She feel that dyeing is not only a connection to nature, which provides us with a brilliant selection of materials and colors but also a connection to our own ancestors and to past generations of people around the world. 

    Past Artists-in-Residence

    Upcoming Events

      City of Santa Monica Calendar

      Getting Here

      Workshops at the Camera Obscura Art Lab are wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant. NOTE: the camera obscura mechanism is located up fourteen steps and is not wheelchair accessible. If you require any special disability related accommodations please contact us at, call us at (310) 458-8350 or TDD: (310) 458-8696 at least 5 days prior to the event.

      Shared Mobility Devices cannot be used within the park around the Camera Obscura Art Lab.


      Expo line to Downtown Santa Monica Station: Camera Obscura Art Lab is 4 blocks away.
      Metro information


      Take the Big Blue Bus or Metro Bus.


      Take a Metro Bikes from Downtown Santa Monica Station; bike racks are available here.
      Information for bicyclists


      Parking Structure 6, Pier, Civic Center or Civic Auditorium
      Parking information