Camera Obscura Art Lab

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

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.


Santa Monica Cultural Affairs presents

Mimi Haddon and Natalja Kent: New Works

Saturday, November 9, 2019
Camera Obscura Art Lab
1450 Ocean, Santa Monica, CA.

Find event and ticket information on Eventbrite.

During their Camera Obscura studio residencies, costume designer and photographer Mimi Haddon and photographer Natalja Kent examined ideas of embodiment, territory, masking and unmasking, and transformation. Mimi documented the archetypes and characters that participants in her public events created in response to transformative costuming, and is assembling a book about the newly forged narratives and connections that emerged from this process. Natalja continued a project titled "Movement Artifact," which tracks internal and external changes that occur as people engage with their bodies and with art. She engaged event participants in sessions of movement and meditation followed by photography and other image making.

Join Studio Residents Mimi Haddon and Natalja Kent for an exhbition of new work, and work created with Camera Obscura participants during their August 7 – November 13, 2019 tenure. Light refreshments provided.

Current Resident Artist(s)

  • Matt Reynolds

    May 27 - August 26, 2020

    Matt Reynolds is primarily recognized as an animated filmmaker and sculptor. His films (Hot Dog Hands, Sport in the Land of Plenty, Bottom Feeders) have won awards at The San Francisco International Film Festival, The Anim'est International Film Festival in Romania, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and have screened at such festivals as SXSW, AFI Fest, and the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. He has also designed and directed commissioned work for various clients such as The Atlantic, Adult Swim, TED Ed, and Fox Sports. As a teaching artist he has taught experimental animation techniques and the principles of "World Building" to a diverse age range of learners (from 4th graders to graduate students at CalArts) around the greater Los Angeles area.

  • 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 Workshopsculminating event and interview

Past Artists-in-Residence

Monthly Brochures

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