Public Art Documentary Film Series


Discover inspiring and thought provoking cinema at the 2016 Palm Desert Public Art Documentary Film Series. Beginning in January, the public is invited to an eighth season of free screenings of public art-themed documentaries presented by the City’s Public Art Program and the University of California, Riverside Palm Desert Graduate Center. Each screening will include a featured speaker who will discuss that night’s film. 


All films screen the third Thursday of the month, January through April, at 6 p.m. in the auditorium at UCR Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended.

Series Schedule:

January 21: Sol Lewitt:  Wall Drawings

During the four decades of his career, Sol LeWitt produced more than 1,200 wall drawings using a deliberately limited repertoire of lines and geometric shapes to create works of remarkable complexity.

This film takes as its focus the retrospective of LeWitt's wall drawings at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, which opened in November 2008 for a 25 year run. The exhibition includes 105 works from 1968–2008, installed posthumously, on roughly 40,000 square feet of old mill wall surface – the most expansive view of LeWitt's oeuvre in a single space.  Featured speaker: Steven Biller, editor-at-large for Palm Springs Life and contributing writer to Art Ltd to follow the film.  To make reservations.

February 18: Calder - Sculptor of Air

Unique modern artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976) revolutionized the art of sculpture with his distinctive modernism, freeing sculpture from its stand and adding movement to the art itself.  He rose to fame in the 1930s with his renowned Miniature Circus, but his modernist creativity skyrocketed with his wire sculptures, an invention he dubbed 'drawing in space'.  This film retraces this unique quest and explores the masterpieces that have marked the history of 20th century art.  Featured speaker:  Dr. Steve Nash, former director of the Palm Springs Art Museum.  To make reservations.

March 17:  Beyond These Walls:  Building Community through Public Art

Beyond These Walls:  Building Community through Public Art

In 1992, a small group of community leaders in Portsmouth, Ohio asked, "How can we create pride in our community, improve the local economy, and change a dying part of town into the vibrant place it once was?"  This film is the story of the local visionaries and extraordinary artists who transformed a drab 2,200 foot section of the town's floodwall into a vast display of public art, history, and pride.

Murals: Transformations (9 mins.)

Murals: Transformation tells the story of how the Palm Springs Unified School District started and maintains a thriving mural program, with a collection of over 80 murals. The film features interviews with several artists who work with the district as well as the Arts Coordinator, shedding light on why this art program continues to have meaning and validity in today's local educational settings.  Featured speaker:  Louisa Castrodale, Arts Coordinator, Palm Springs Unified School District.  To make reservations

April 21: A Model for Matisse

Directed by Barbara Freed, A Model for Matisse documents the association between the nun Sister Jacques-Marie and the artist Henri Matisse. Their relationship began when she started working for him as a personal nurse, but soon she began posing for the painter. Eventually she played a central part in Matisse designing the Chapelle du Rosaire, one of the greatest accomplishments in Matisse's remarkable career.

Featured speaker: Emily Culhan, Programs Coordinator, Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert. To make reservations.

Attending the Event

Film screenings are free, but reservations are recommended.  To make a reservation visit For questions or more information, please call 760-837-1663.