Santa Monica Cultural Affairs

City of Santa Monica

Four dancers practicing outdoors
Choreographer-in-Residence Ana Maria Alvarez rehearses Agua Furiosa with dancers Jeremiah Buren, Isis Avalos and Sarah Culberson, 2014

Santa Monica Cultural Affairs

Turning art into reality

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.


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 & 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. Anni Albers

Santa Monica Arts Foundation

The Santa Monica Arts Foundation is a nonprofit agency dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts in Santa Monica. The Foundation is staffed by Santa Monica Cultural Affairs.

Recognizing Great Arts Leaders in Santa Monica
The Santa Monica Arts Foundation sponsors the Arts Leadership Awards, which recognizes exemplary leaders who support Santa Monica’s creative community. The 2019 awards will be presented at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.

Policy & Planning

Cultural Policy

The City’s Cultural Policies exist to support our artistic legacy, while creating space for new artisting 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 announce our 2019 Cultural Plan. This yearlong 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. Chuck Klosterman

Public Art Program

Map / Archive


Public Art Committee

Maintenance of Collection

Maintaining the original, inspirational appearance of our vast art collection requires constant care. In 2015, the Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Public Art team commissioned Rosa Lowinger and Associates to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment. Now regular maintenance on our most important pieces ensures they’ll be around for years to come.
Read the report

Percent for Art

The Percent for Art Program embodies the City’s commitment to sustainable funding for the arts by setting aside one percent of the total budget of all eligible capital projects for art projects. Santa Monica Cultural Affairs manages the City’s public art program and its Percent for Art requirement in both public and private development.


In art, there may be no rules, but in civic art there are definitely ordinances. These ordinances outline the ways public art is created and maintained. Santa Monica Cultural Affairs’ Public Art Program operates under these ordinances and policies, under the direction of City staff, the Arts Commission, the Public Art Committee and City Council.


Administrative policies and procedures

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