Welcome to ArtSaMo

Camera Obscura Art Lab

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.

The Camera Obscura Mechanism

Enter the body of a camera for a magical view! Visitors can experience the Camera Obscura mechanism Monday through Friday 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Admission is free. There are fourteen steps up a stairway to the device. 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.


Artists-in-Residence from 2014-2019

  • Dahn Gim

    April 24 – July 31, 2019


    Sculptor Dahn Gim creates a series of sound/kinetic sculptures made of collected seaside waste and plastic remnants from 3D printers, with a focus on transforming and recontextualizing notions of trash and debris.

    Upcoming Public Workshopsfinal event and interview

  • Alex Wand

    April 24 – July 31, 2019


    Composer Alex Wand works on a  sound collage  that interprets the ocean views as seen from the Camera Obscura. Sonification is one focus of his practice, which also includes investigations into just intonation, folk music, sound art, and music for performance.

    Upcoming Public Workshopsfinal event, and interview

  • Natalja Kent

    August 7 – November 13, 2019


    Photographer Natalja Kent continues a project called Movement Artifact, and will utilize the residency as a platform to to engage with the public in both embodiment and generative practices. This will take the form of various group movement and meditation events followed by cyanotype printmaking.

    Upcoming Public Workshops

  • Mimi Haddon

    August 7 – November 13, 2019


    Costume Designer and Photographer Mimi Haddon will be working with the idea of adaptations and territories through mask, costume and movement. Haddon will document the archetypes and characters that the participants create, for a book about the newly forged narratives and communities that emerge out of the process.

    Upcoming Public Workshops

  • Max King Cap

    January 9 – April 17, 2019


    Multidisciplinary artist Max King Cap continues his Broadsides series of  politically radical text statements and creates new paintings for his Exonerated series, which memorializes the experience of incarcerated people. He will also work on a play about power and powerlessness titled 59 Inches, and lead flash playwriting, manifesto writing, and painting workshops.

    Upcoming Public Workshops, final event, and interview

  • DaEun Jung

    January 9 – April 17, 2019

    Choreographer DaEun Jung is composing an “Earthian Folk Dance,” conceived as a vernacular dance for all residents of the planet. As a bi-cultural Korean American choreographer, she draws upon traditional Korean dance and contemporary movement practices in her work, which challenges notions of authorship. She also combines a deep investigation into traditional movement forms and aleatory practices. Jung presents workshops in drumming, mask making, and traditional and contemporary dance. 

    Upcoming Public Workshopsfinal event, and interview

Monthly Brochures

July/August 2019

Upcoming Events

    Getting Here

    Expo line to Downtown Santa Monica Station: Camera Obscura Art Lab is 4 blocks away.
    Take the Big Blue Bus or Metro Bus.

    Take a Metro Bikes from Downtown Santa Monica Station; bike racks are available here.
    Parking Structure 6, Pier, Civic Center or Civic Auditorium

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

    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 culture@smgov.net, call us at (310) 458-8350 or TDD: (310) 458-8696 at least 5 days prior to the event.

    We're located at:

    1450 Ocean Ave.

    Palisades Park

    Santa Monica, CA 90401



    Camera Obscura Events Calendar


    06 | 11AM

    06 | 10AM

    View all events