Public Art Documentary Film Series


Discover inspiring and thought provoking cinema at the 2015 Palm Desert Public Art Documentary Film Series. Beginning in January, the public is invited to a sixth 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. For more information, or to make a reservation, please call 760-837-1663.

Series Schedule:

January 15: Morris Louis: The Life and Art of One of America's Greatest Twentieth Century Abstract Artists and
Lyon Housemuseum (short film)

Morris Louis: The Life and Art of One of America's Greatest Twentieth Century Abstract Artists
is a rarely seen documentary chronicles the life and artwork of Morris Louis, a prolific painter whose work provides a link between Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting. His mature style is among the most recognizable of the Color Field painters and is characterized by layered rainbows of acrylic paint poured down huge blank canvases. 

Lyon Housemuseum (short film) explores private house and private art collection located east of Melbourne, Australia in the residential suburb. Q&A to follow with TBD.   To make reservations.

February 19: Ginny Ruffner:  A Not So Still Life

A Not So Still Life peers into the kaleidoscopic mind of Ginny Ruffner, an artist as beloved for her magnanimous spirit as for her evolving "visual thought experiments." The film explores the full span of Ginny's fascinating journey, from her childhood in South Carolina to her emergence as a world-renowned artist. Meet the luminaries in her orbit and witness Ginny's determination to recover from the accident that nearly claimed her life, but barely even slowed her constant re-invention of the world around her.  Q&A to follow with Ginny Ruffner and Karen Stanton, Director and Director of Photography for the film.  To make reservations.

March 19:  The Gateway Arch:  A Reflection of America

From Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark, and St. Louis' role in westward expansion to the construction of the largest stainless steel structure in history, this movie chronicles — for the first time — the complete story of a great American symbol: the Gateway Arch. Featuring newly discovered construction footage, rare photographs of westward expansion, and early conceptual drawings, this movie presents a message of optimism, the human capacity to pursue dreams and America's ability to achieve great things.  The film is narrated by academy award-winner Kevin Kline. Q&A to follow with TBD. To make reservations.

April 16: Tim’s Vermeer

Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did 17th century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically -- 150 years before the invention of photography? The epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he discovers.  A Penn & Teller Film, produced by Penn Jillette, 2013.  Q&A to follow with Lisa Soccio, Assistant Professor/Gallery Director at College 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.