Call for Art: Camera Obscura Art Lab Residency

City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division

Palisades Park, Santa Monica, CA


The City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division seeks proposals from artists and artisans living in Los Angeles County for a fourteen-week studio residency at the Camera Obscura Art Lab in Palisades Park, Santa Monica.

The Studio Residency Program offers artists a glass-walled studio with a spectacular ocean view in an iconic midcentury park building overlooking the Santa Monica Pier, four blocks away from the terminus of the Expo line. The City seeks artists whose work offers opportunity for inspiring the public through example and instruction. All disciplines and mediums will be considered.

Residency Description 

The City of Santa Monica established the Studio Residency Program at the Camera Obscura to support the work of local artists, highlight the intersection of fine art and craft, and provide the public with access to a variety of artistic practice and instruction.

This Studio Residency spans 14 weeks and the City is looking for one applicant to fill each timeslot: May 3 – August   9, 2017 or August   9 – November  15, 2017. Partnerships and collectives will be considered as well as individual artists. 

The City presents this opportunity to artists who both need a place to practice and create, and are deeply invested in sharing their work for the public’s benefit.

An honorarium of $1500 and use of the facility for a final exhibit/presentation is offered to the successful applicant. The City will also provide a parking pass for the duration of the residency, if desired.

Other details:

  • The residency offers studio work space, not living space. The City will provide access to the facility from 8:00am-10:00pm M-F and 9:30am-10:00pm Sat-Sun, with some exceptions.
  • Residents present at least thirteen participatory activities for the public (once a week) plus their final presentation. These events are focused on arts/crafts skill-building and creative participation. Resident workshops need not relate directly to the Resident’s current work. Presentational formats - talks, screenings or performances are not preferred unless the applicant makes a compelling case for public participation.
  • All Camera Obscura activities are geared to adults.
  • The Resident must utilize the studio more than three times per week.
  • It is preferred, but not required, that the Resident use the studio during daytime hours on weekdays, in addition to other times.
  • Equipment available: tables, chairs, whiteboard, video projector/screen, relief printing press, and various craft equipment.
  • Also provided: free City Wi-Fi, as available, and access to a kitchen with refrigerator/ stove/ sink/ microwave.
  • Work in the studio will be in public view and should be appropriate for a general audience.
  • The studio, though lockable, is part of a shared space; use of fragile, hazardous or very valuable materials is not allowed.


The residency is open to all artists, crafters and makers who reside in Los Angeles County. Artist teams will be considered. All types of practice will be considered; previous Residents have included a quilter, several printmakers and painters, a choreographer, a puppeteer, a paper sculptor, and a milliner. 

Applicants who have received a residency from the City of Santa Monica in the past two years, or are currently arts grantees, resident artists through another City of Santa Monica program, or are currently employed by the City of Santa Monica, are not eligible to apply. 

Selection  Process

Applications will be reviewed by a committee of City of Santa Monica staff and arts professionals. Criteria for selection will include:

  • Quality of previous work
  • Applicant’s plans for the residency period
  • Demonstrated ability of the applicant to design and implement effective interactive activities with the public
  • Suitability of the artist’s practice for the space

The City of Santa Monica may request additional information from, or schedule initial interviews with, selected applicants. The City also reserves the right to not select applicants and recall and/or cancel the Call for Applications at any time at its sole discretion. 

Notification of the selected resident will take place by early March, 2017.

The Camera Obscura  Art Lab 

The Art Lab hosts both the historic Camera Obscura mechanism (c.1898) and an ongoing series of arts, crafts, movement, and culture classes for adults. As a place for creativity and inquiry, areas of focus at the Art Lab include visual arts, dance/movement and participatory culture.

Proposal  Submission Requirements 

A complete application will consist of a proposal letter and a resume.

For the proposal letter, please include the answers to the following prompts:

  • Describe your practice.
  • What project do you intend to embark upon/finish during the residency period?
  • What experience have you had teaching or working with the public, and how can you translate this to your work at the Camera Obscura?

Also include:

  • Which timeframe is preferred
  • Links to work sample photographs and/or video
  • A proposed schedule and descriptions of public workshops/activity
  • A proposed schedule of working hours
  • Any special requirements for move-in/out, space, storage, electricity, or equipment, and a list with usage and disposal plans for any art materials or chemicals

For the resume, please include:

  • A single paragraph biography
  • Your residential address
  • Previous showings of your work, awards, residencies, and related accomplishments

Applicants will receive an acknowledgement upon receipt of materials.  If an acknowledgement is not received within  three days please call (contact  below.) 


Please email applications to [email protected] and cc: [email protected]

For questions about the Studio Residency Program, please contact Naomi Okuyama, Cultural

Affairs Supervisor, at [email protected] or call (310) 458-2257. 

For information about the Art Lab and its activities, stop by during the Camera Obscura open hours (M-F 9am-3pm and Sat 11am-4pm) or visit

Due Date

Applications must be received at the email addresses  above by 5:00 PM on Thursday,  March 1, 2017.

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