CSU, Chico News

Arts and Civil Rights Trailblazer to Discuss Documentary About Her Life

Date: 09-12-2014

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

A little known champion for integration during the early 1950s will visit California State University, Chico next week during showings of a documentary about her life and times.

“Instruments of Change” will be shown Sept. 16 as part of the University Film Series in Ayres 106 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sept. 18 in PAC 134 at 7:30 p.m. Both showings will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Steve Waxman and the subject of the documentary, Ruth Greenfield.

In 1951, Greenfield started the first integrated fine arts program in Florida, and perhaps in the entire South. The Fine Arts Conservatory in Miami was dedicated to bringing music, dance and art to young black and white students in a racially color-blind environment.

Twenty years after launching the conservatory, Greenfield started the trailblazing Lunchtime Lively Arts Series in Miami in 1972. The event, hosted by Miami Dade College, helped revitalize a downtown Miami in decline and brought a variety of free entertainment every Wednesday to various venues. The series itself continued almost 20 years and helped spark Miami's urban renewal.

“Instruments of Change” concentrates on these two projects and the longstanding beneficial changes brought about by both. Social justice and civic engagement are prominent themes in the one-hour film. The documentary was commissioned by longtime admirers of Greenfield.

Waxman and Greenfield will also talk to classes during a three-day visit to campus.

Waxman is a TV producer whose documentary writing and producing credits include the PBS aired programs “Great Entrepreneurs,” “Generations in the Sun" and “Prohibition and the South Florida Connection” and his most recent film seen on PBS, “A Call to Serve.” Mr. Waxman has also written and produced over a hundred TV commercials, numerous lifestyle segments and an ecological promotion film shot in the Galapagos Islands. His website is ShadowWaveMedia.com.