Camera Obscura Art Lab at 1450 Ocean

Make & Move at Palisades Park

The Camera Obscura Art Lab at 1450 Ocean is a hive of activity, where adults of all ages can roll up their sleeves and dive into hands-on crafts, art, and cultural programs. Learn to make a mosaic tabletop, paint a landscape, knit a market bag, practice salsa moves, learn to take better photos, and much more. There's always something new at the Art Lab!

Plein Air Drawing Enameling on Silver Sewing at Repair Cafe
Plein Air Drawing with Gary Geraths
Enameling on Silver with Sharon Kaplan
Sewing at the Repair Cafe

In the Studio: Francisco Valdez

Artist-in-Residence, April 20 - July 27, 2016 
Ocean View Park Palms
Untitled Portrait
Untitled Portrait
Frank is an accomplished landscape artist working in oils. At the Camera Obscura, he is concentrating on his portraiture skills, drawing and painting from a live model – dressed in beach wear as a nod to the site – every week. He is also inviting a community to come together around life drawing during his tenure; to that end he is leading beginner and intermediate workshops every Saturday at the Camera Obscura. Check out his Instagram feed.

Francisco Valdez was raised in Texas. He is a graduate of UCLA, and has attended both Art College Center of Design in Pasadena, CA and Grand Central Atelier in New York, New York. Recent awards include Audience Choice Award at the Los Angeles Plein Aire Festival and Best in Show- Portrait at the Crossland Gallery's Con.FIGURE.ation 2 show, as well as the Hudson River Fellowship. He currently splits his time between El Paso and Los Angeles.

The Camera Obscura Studio Artist Residency program connects the public with artists and artisans working within and between the worlds of fine art and craft. Artists-in-residence share their work with the public informally and through workshops and master classes. If you're an artist interested in receiving alerts about this program and other opportunities with the City of Santa Monica's Cultural Affairs Division, join the Artist Opportunity email list.
Current Calls For Proposals

And of Note

Watercolor participant
Try a Watercolor Journey class with Timothy Kitz. You can drop in, sign up for a series, or get on our email list to be notified of future opportunities. 
Blick Homepage Coupon
Watercolor programs are made possible by Blick Art Materials

Free Craft Lounge

Every 2nd Saturday, 11am - 2pm

Have a project you've been meaning to finish? Need help getting it done? Drop by the Free Craft Lounge every 2nd Saturday, where everyone's welcome to bring a craft project and work in the company of others... with an ocean view. Sewing machines, supplies, and other tools are available for use. Swap your expertise with others. Local artists and crafters often drop by to lead mini-workshops.

About Art Lab and Camera Obscura

1450 Exterior

Vintage Camera Obscura

Step inside the Art Lab and you'll find a welcoming space with fantastic views of Santa Monica Bay and the Pier. The Art Lab is located in a midcentury time capsule in Palisades Park between Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd on what was once the site of the Pacific Electric Railway's North Beach Station. Designed by noted architect Weldon J. Fulton (who's work can be found around town including the classic Camera Obscura sign and font, the Montana and Fairview branch libraries, and the former Zucky's building on Wilshire Blvd), the building's exterior features walls clad in chunky Palos Verdes stone, glass walls, sloping roofs, and projecting canopies and rafter beams. It was donated to the City of Santa Monica by Marcellus Joslyn in 1955.

Next to the Art Lab is Santa Monica's vintage Camera Obscura - a little like an analogue webcam, with a periscope and a white screen in a darkened room. Mirrors reflect images from 360 degrees, with the image guided by an old-timey captains wheel. Originally located on the beach, the Camera Obscura was built in 1898 by Robert F. Jones, nephew of Santa Monica city founder Senator John P. Jones.

The Camera Obscura is free to visit and open M-F 9 am-3 pm and Saturday 11 am-4 pm. Check-in at the office with an ID to borrow the key.

Contact Us

Parking & Transportation

The Camera Obscura Art Lab does not have its own parking lot, but there's plenty of parking nearby:

Rates and hours may vary. Please check the City parking site for the most up-to-date information. 

1450 Ocean is served by Big Blue Bus Lines 1, 2, 8, and Rapid 10. Visit for information. 

Carpooling & Biking to class is always encouraged! A Breeze Bike Share rack is just south of us in the park.

 Groove1  Groove2  Groove3
  The Groove - dancing at sunset with Deanne Dawson  

Class Registration & The Fine Print

There are several convenient ways to sign up for a class at the Camera:   

  • OnlineCreate an account to make a payment by credit card 

  • In Person: Stop by 1450 Ocean to pre-register for a class. We are open Monday - Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 11am-4pm. Cash, check, or credit card accepted. Proof of Santa Monica residency may be required for discounts where applicable.

  • By MailSend your completed registration form to Community Classes Registration, 1450 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401 

  • Drop-ins: Drop-ins are welcome if space is available. Call 310-458-2239 by the Tuesday before to see if space is available. Arrive at least 15 minutes before the class starts with cash to pay for the class and materials fee. Note: Some classes do not proceed without a minimum enrollment and some reach capacity. Call ahead to let us know you're coming and how to get in touch with you if there are any changes. Programs are subject to cancellation if minimum enrollment is not met.

  • Refunds/Transfers: Full refunds are given if class is cancelled before taking place - enroll online with confidence. For student withdrawals, there is $15 processing fee for each multisession activity refunded; one-time classes & expended material fees are nonrefundable. Requests must be made in person, by mail, fax (310-899-0840), or email to within 24 hours of first class meeting. All class dates, times, locations, and instructors are subject to change. Requests must be made in person, by mail, or email to

Please bring cash to cover material fees on the first day of class. 

Other questions? Call the Community Classes Office at 310-458-2239 or email




Pano interior


Camera Obscura Art Lab
1450 Ocean Ave.
Palisades Park
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Ph: 310.458.2239 

1450 Ocean on Facebook


Brought to you by
Santa Monica Cultural Affairs

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Community and Cultural Services
1685 Main Street, Room 210, Santa Monica, CA 90401
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