It is with great pleasure that I am able to tell you today that the School has passed its milestone of raising $2 million to ensure its future as independent program. This means we can now move forward in our application to the Higher Learning Commission to become an educational institution with its own finances, management, and fiduciary Board.
We are so grateful to all of you who supported us during this difficult process. Many of you gave above and beyond your means, and thus showed your commitment to our continuation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy in buildings and thought. We are especially grateful to our major supporters, including the Taliesin Twelve (Jacalyn Lynn, Tim Wright and Karen Ellzey Wright, Charles and Fonda Paterson, Frank and Berta Gehry, Bing Hu and Wenchin Shi, Mark Friedman, Jason Fried, Carl Shaffer, Robert and Gretchen Ravenscroft), the United Fund of Globe-Miami, IDA of Gila County, Capstone Mining, MGM Resorts International, BHP Billiton, Sentry Insurance, the Rio Salado Foundation, and the Graham Foundation. We cannot thank you enough. We also wanted to give our gratitude to all the students, family, Fellows, Board members, friends, and the staff and Board of the Foundation, all of whom worked so hard with us to make this possible.
Now we will move forward with what will be a complex process of changing our status. In the meantime, we will continue the hard work we have been doing here at the School. In the last year, we obtained reaccreditation for our Master of Architecture program from the NAAB for a full, eight-year term. We streamlined our curriculum and added courses in design, theory, and digital fabrication. We have made the designing, building, and inhabitation of a shelter at Taliesin West a required part of all students’ three-year, twelve-semester program here by embedding it in a year-long thesis program. We look forward to more improvements that will embed notions such as organic architecture and learning by doing in more thorough and complete ways in our learning process.
We are also very excited because we are turning towards design/build projects in local communities as a way to bring back the notion that the School is not just a place to learn about architecture through theoretical projects, but one where you practice on and in the real world. In particular, we look forward to a four-year set of projects in which we will be working the towns of Globe and Miami, Arizona to develop facilities and civic improvements, some of which we may construct ourselves.
We are not forgetting about Frank Lloyd Wright’s notion of educating the complete person: we have intensified our encounters with local practitioners and artists, and this spring will bring design luminaries such as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Liz Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, Thom Mayne, Julie Eizenberg, Todd Williams and Billy Tsien, Winy Maas, and Urban Think Tank (Hubert Klumpner and Alfredo Brillembourg) to the campus’ intimate theater for discussions with students, faculty, and invited guests. We are also looking to bring more performances back to Taliesin and Taliesin West.
This was a collaborative process that not only involved the School’s Board, staff, and students, but the entire Taliesin community. All of your dedication, passion, and support have helped to keep the spirit and legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture alive, and we look forward to walking the path towards independence with you. Together, we will make the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture the best experimental architecture school in the country. Again, our thanks, and please feel to get in touch with us if you would like any further information.
Jacki Lynn, Board Chair
Aaron Betsky, Dean