Santa Monica Cultural Affairs

City of Santa Monica

Camera Obscura Art Lab

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 Avenue
Palisades Park
Santa Monica, CA 90401

[email protected]

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.


Past artists

Upcoming Events

City of Santa Monica Calendar

Monthly Brochures

May and June 2019

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 [email protected], 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.


Take the 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.


Metro Bikes are available at the Downtown Santa Monica Station. Bike racks are available at Camera Obscura Art Lab.
Information for bicyclists


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

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