The first reaction a lot of people have when I mention the Santa Monica Art Studios in the Santa Monica Airport is, “Wait, Santa Monica has an airport?” A little surprising when considering it’s been around since the 1920s. It (along with McDonnell-Douglas) also seems to have played a pretty interesting role in the history of aviation and World War II. But then not so surprising when considering most of the people I meet in Los Angeles are not actually from Los Angeles (while I’ve been meeting more native Angelinos lately, they still seem to be few and far between).
–No judgement here, of course–I am not from L.A. and only knew of the Santa Monica airport from having to work there early in my L.A. film career. In all honesty, I’d forgotten about it until I made a wrong turn and found myself among the hangars some years back–
In 2000, amid frequent controversy over the increasing number of daily flights, questions about the direction of the airport’s future and a steep decline in affordable studio space in the city, non-aviation portions of the airport were approved for use as artist studios. Since then, the airport has become a thriving art community. With frequent distinctive events at Barker Hangar and world class performances at The Ruskin Group Theater–not to mention the dog park, soccer fields, regular outdoor antique/collectibles market, restaurants, flight school (you know you’ve always wanted to!), and new aviation museum–the Santa Monica Airport is becoming a bit of a spot over on the West side.
Among the hangars and housed in one of its own is the Santa Monica Art Studios. Established in 2005 by long-time creator Yossi Govrin and Santa Monica gallerist Sherry Frumkin, it houses a community of around 30 artists’ studios representing every artistic medium there is. At the hub of the building is the Arena 1 gallery which presents regular curated shows and plays host to other intriguing events such as the “Categorically Not” series of lectures on art, science, politics, and life. And as an emerging mid-career artist, it has been a pleasure to occasionally show my work at the Studios in their Hangar Gallery–additional exhibit space made available to non-resident artists at all points in their art careers.
So next time you’re in the neighborhood or want something different to do on a Saturday afternoon, see what’s going at the Santa Monica Airport, drop by the studios, and make a day of it!
Santa Monica Municipal Airport
3223 Donald Douglas Loop S
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Enter on Airport Avenue from
South Bundy on the North or 23rd St on the South.
Santa Monica Art Studios/Arena 1/The Hangar Gallery
3026 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Gallery hours: Wed-Sat 12P-6P or by appointment.