More than just an exhibition of artwork, this event was also a showing of three documentary films by Dr. Lewis: one on sculptor John Outerbridge; one on painter Bernte Casey; and one on print-maker-sculptor Elizabeth Cattlet. The films show each artist at work and express their individual philosophy of Black art.
Already by 1972, Dr. Lewis was an extraordinarily accomplished and accoladed artist and academic. A tidy summary of her achievements to date was offered by the Oakland Post:
“A native of Louisiana, Dr. Lewis received her B.S. degree from Hampton Institute, and her master’s degree in sculpture and doctorate in painting and art history from Ohio State University. Her post doctoral work was at Tung-Hai University, Taiwan, New York University and the University of Southern California in Chinese Art History, Language and Asian Civilization. She has received a Delta Sigma Theta grant and fellowship from Ford Foundation and National Defense Education Act.
Dr. Lewis has taught at Hampton Institute, Morgan State College, Florida A & M University, University of the State of New York, Cal State-Long Beach and been with Florida A & M University, Alabama State College, Hampton Institute and Pennsylvania State University.
Dr. Lewis — wherever she resides — involves herself continuously in the struggle to expose the artists within the community and is committed to an expression of humanism in her own work. She deals with the social concerns of people in a dynamic, forceful way in each medium in which she works.”
Like so many of the artists and intellectuals at Rainbow Sign, the already exceptional Dr. Lewis continues to be an influential presence in the art world. After this exhibit, Dr. Lewis would go on to found The International Review of African American Art in 1975 and The Museum of African American Arts in Los Angeles in 1976 and be awarded the UNICEF Award for the Visual Arts in 1995.