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Camera Obscura Art Lab at 1450 Ocean

   Your Community Art Practice Space

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. Artist Residency programs bring local artists to the Camera to practice their craft and share their work with participants. 

TimWatercolor Enameling on Silver Sewing at Repair Cafe
Timothy Kitz's Watercolor class 
Enameling on Silver with Sharon Kaplan
Sewing at the Repair Cafe

Studio Residency

DebraDisman Book project  
Debra Disman Detail from a handmade book

Debra Disman
Residency: January 10 - April 18, 2018
Final Presentation: Saturday, April 14, 2018 RSVP

During her residency period, Disman is creating a life-sized “Big Beach Book,” a book structure upwards of 6’ tall, made of recyclable materials, which she is building and developing collaboratively with the community through her public workshops. “The Big Beach Book” will become an exhibition and performance space, a place to move in and through, and a creative surface for the public to add to and develop. Both the interior space of 1450 Ocean and its surrounding natural environment will serve as inspiration for its structure, content and embellishment. The “Big Beach Book” will be displayed during the final presentation and will be disassembled at the conclusion of the residency, its parts offered to the community during the last public workshop to be recycled into new projects. She is also developing a series of works that progressively investigate the emotional, sensory and evocative aspects of texture, textiles, cloth, fiber, cord and string in book format. Utilizing natural materials (those permissible to be collected) found in the beach and park environment of Palisades Park, she explores the very nature of the book as object, communicative tool and form of expression.

Debra Disman is a Los Angeles-based artist working primarily in the form of the book, both as a solo practitioner and in the public sphere of community engagement. As a maker and teaching artist she creates work and projects which push the boundaries of the book into new forms and materials. Growing up in the American Midwest, she is informed by living in France, travelling in the US and Europe, and living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area; as well as by deep experience as a teaching artist, color designer and the owner/principal of  ArtiFactory Studio. Disman was the featured artist for the Big Read in LA in 2016, showing at the Mike Kelley Gallery at Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA; is the recipient of a WORD: Artist Grant / Bruce Geller Memorial Prize in 2016 to create “The Sheltering Book”, a life-sized book structure designed as a catalyst for community creativity; and was commissioned by LA’s Craft and Folk Art Museum to create an interactive book for the 2017 exhibition, “Chapters: Book Arts in Southern California". Most recently she has been awarded a City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Artist-in-Residence grant to work with visual and performing arts high school students and the surrounding community in the Sunland-Tujunga neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2017-2018.

HuongNguyen Shibori Quilt  
Huong Nguyen detail from folded shibori work

Huong Nguyen
Residency: January 10 - April 18, 2018
Final Presentation: Saturday, April 14, 2018 RSVP

Huong Nguyen will focus on studio work using several traditional asian craft techniques such as Shibori (Japanese tie-dye), Katagami (Japanese stencil making), and Joomchi (Korean paper felting). The artist will be creating a body of textile work consisting of hand dyed Shibori fabric that is then pleated and collaged back together, breaking up backgrounds like ripples in the original image. The artist will also be creating mulberry paper panels inspired by flora and fauna of Santa Monica that incorporates both Katagami and Joomchi techniques, resulting in a material that is somewhere in between textile and paper.  The artist wishes to engage the community of Santa Monica with the joy of slow movement through art and craft by holding workshops exploring various mediums and methods inspired by her love of printmaking and textile arts. She aims to include in her final presentation textiles and paper collages made up of work from members of the Santa Monica community who participate in her residency workshops.

Born​ ​in​ ​Orlando,​ ​Florida​ ​to​ ​a​ ​large​ ​Vietnamese​ ​family,​ ​Huong​ ​Nguyen​ ​is​ ​a​ ​visual​ ​artist​ ​with  roots​ ​in​ ​the​ ​textiles​ ​industry.​​ ​Nguyen​ ​​received​ ​a​ BFA from ​RISD​ ​for Textile​ ​Design​ ​and​ ​continues​ ​to​ ​work​ ​on​ ​printmaking,​ ​pattern​ ​design,​ ​and​ ​personal​ ​artwork in​ ​various​ ​media.​ ​Her​ ​studio​ ​work​ ​is​ ​based​ ​on​ ​a​ ​philosophy​ ​that​ ​art​ ​is​ ​a​ ​transformative and​ ​enlightening​ ​process,​ ​creating​ ​unique​ ​and​ ​beautiful​ ​work​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​art​ ​history,  textiles,​ ​nature,​ ​culture,​ ​music,​ ​fashion,​ ​and​ ​current​ ​events.​​​ ​A​ ​tendency​ ​towards​ ​essential methods​ ​and​ ​themes​ ​outside​ ​mainstream​ ​markets​ ​lead​s ​to​ ​artwork​ ​that​ ​is​ ​full​ ​of​ ​cultural  history​ ​and​ ​tradition.​​​ Huong​ ​has  built​ ​a​ ​practice​ ​around​ ​traditional​ ​methods​ ​that​ ​hone​ ​in​ ​on​ ​meditative​ ​yet​ ​methodical  techniques,​ ​methods​ ​that​ ​are​ ​disappearing​ ​over​ ​time​ ​as​ ​industrialization,​ ​and​ ​demands​ ​of  mass​ ​production​ ​increase​ ​expediency​ ​of​ ​results.​


Kate-Ingold collage collage2
Kate Ingold Collage works

Kate Ingold
Residency: April 25 - August 1, 2018
Final Presentation: Saturday, July 28, 2018, 3-6pm -  RSVP 

Kate Ingold is a visual artist and poet working in a variety of media. At the Camera she continues her work on Damaged Goods/Small Repairs, a series of repairs and embellishments of discarded, handmade quilts, scratched drawings on original photographs, and image/text collages made of vintage and new magazines. Check out the City's Q&A with Kate here.

Kate Ingold's work spans textiles made from recycled and new materials to stitched and etched drawings on digital photographs, sculptural, video and performative installation, and image/text collage. She examines issues of disturbance, reparation and collapse, and the nostalgia and regret that can accompany loss. Her chapbook, Dream of Water, was chosen by Harryette Mullen for the Poetry Society of America’s National Chapbook Fellowship and was published in 2008. Kate received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently lives in Los Angeles. 

Brittany Ransom Jabblrs
Brittany Ransom Jabblrs: a way to communicate with dogs

Brittany Ransom
Residency: April 25 - August 1, 2018
Final Presentation: Saturday, July 28, 2018, 3-6pm -  RSVP

Brittany Ransom is an artist and educator whose work explores the conflicted relationship between human culture, digital interaction, and the natural world. Utilizing technologies such as 3D printers and scanners alongside traditional sculptural practices (mold making, wood and metal techniques), she creates objects that interrogate the form and function of society and nature. At the Camera, Brittany will continue working on Well Real Estate Is Always Good As Far As I’m Concerned, a series of buildings from real estate sites that she models in 3D, prints and casts in paper pulp, then feeds to termites. 

Brittany Ransom is an artist and educator currently living in Long Beach, California. Ransom is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the competitive Workshop Residency in San Francisco (2016), the Arctic Circle Research Residency (2014), University Research council and Instructional Technology Grant Awards (2013-2014), and the prestigious College Art Association Professional Development Fellowship (2011). Ransom has shown internationally and nationally and has been featured in numerous publications. Her most recent work has been exhibited in Berlin (as part of Transmediale 2017), Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas. Ransom served as the 2017 SIGGRAPH Studio Chair and will serve as the 2019 SIGGRAPH Art Gallery Chair, both in Los Angeles. She collaborates with a number of local contemporary art institutions and science museums. Ransom received her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Electronic Visualization from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2011) and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University with a concentration in Art and Technology (2008). Ransom is currently serving as the Assistant Professor of Sculpture + New Genres at California State University Long Beach. As a member of the faculty of the College of The Arts, she works within the sculpture area and specializes in 3D computerized production / digital fabrication and physical computing / kinetics. Prior to living in Long Beach, California, Ransom was the Assistant Professor of Digital / Hybrid Media at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas for three years. Ransom has also lived and worked in Chicago, Illinois and Columbus, Ohio. Ransom is half african american and italian / german and was born and raised in the small city of Lima, Ohio.


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

Free Craft Lounge

Every 2nd Saturday, 11am - 2pm
 Craft Lounge  Craft Lounge 2

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 the Art Lab and Camera Obscura

1450 Exterior

Vintage Camera Obscura  

Step inside the Camera Obscura Art Lab and you'll find a welcoming space with fantastic views of Santa Monica Bay and the Pier. The Camera 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.

Attached to the Art Lab you can step into the body of a camera - Santa Monica's vintage Camera Obscura is a little like an analog 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 9am - 3pm & Saturday 11am - 4pm. 

Contact Us

  • Email:
  • Phone: 310-458-2239
  • In Person: Drop by 1450 Ocean Ave, just north of the Pier entrance and Broadway
  • View and Register for classes here.
  • Join our email list to receive updates every 2-4 weeks. 
  • Like us at & tell your friends!

Getting Here

Note that we are just north of Broadway, as is Parking Structure 6... those pesky GPS devices can sometimes get confused!

Train: Expo terminus at 4th St/Colorado, 4 blocks away. Upon exiting the station go west on Colorado to Ocean Ave, cross the street to the Pier and turn right. We're in Palisades Park just past Broadway.

Parking (info: 

Bus: check Big Blue Bus and Metro.

Bike: Ride your bike (bring a lock) or utilize the Breeze Bike Share corral just south of us in the park.

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 to pre-register for a class. We are open Monday - Friday 9am-3pm 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 any materials fee (class fees are payable by cash/check/credit card.) 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

Enrollment 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


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