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PHOENIX, Arizona — As students at the School of Architecture at Taliesin are adjusting to the institution’s apparent demise, architects are weighing in on the possible impact — and the way forward for architecture education.
School officials issued a formal announcement on January 28, indicating that the school would be closing by the end of June. It notes that the decision impacts about 30 students, who currently divide their time between Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona.
The statement provides few details about the reasons the school is closing. Instead, it says that the school “was not able to reach an agreement with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to keep the school open.” The foundation issued its own statement that day, suggesting that the school lacks a “sustainable business model” for continuing to operate its accredited program.
Neither school nor foundation officials are commenting at this point, although two members of the school’s board of directors wrote a guest column for a Wisconsin publication. Basically, it states that the foundation gave the school two options: cease operations, or create a new non-accredited school under foundation control.
“This was not necessary in any way,” says Reed Kroloff, who heads the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology. “It’s very disappointing that the foundation was not able to understand the value of the school.”
Students issued their own statement on January 31. “The imminent closure of the School of Architecture at Taliesin has left its student body stunned and deeply distraught,” they wrote. “To discontinue 88 years of a pedagogical model is at least as destructive as the demolition of a physical architectural masterwork.”
Aaron Betsky, the school’s president since 2015, has announced his plans to leave the school at the end of this semester. So far, neither the foundation nor the school have shared specific plans for helping students transition to other programs. Arizona has accredited architecture programs at both Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.
John Meunier, an emeritus professor of architecture at ASU, told Hyperallergic that the Taliesin school is an essential part of Wright’s legacy. He lamented “the loss of a unique architecture school that has had some very significant graduates” and fears it will become “a cadaver instead of a living breathing place.”
Meanwhile, the foundation is highlighting its educational programs for K-12 students. And Meunier is considering other options for continuing Wright’s legacy. “Cranbrook has a non-accredited architecture program that would be an interesting model to look at,” he said of Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Will Bruder, an architect whose designs include the Nevada Museum of Art and Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, had a different take. He’s been inspired by Wright since childhood, when he stumbled onto a Wright-designed church while riding his bike. “When Wright passed, there should have never been a school,” he says.
Even so, he’s suggested that the Rural Studio design-build program affiliated with Auburn University and the American Academy in Rome could be good models for continuing Wright’s legacy. He’d like to see Taliesin offer six month fellowships through a global exchange program.
As supporters are seeking answers about the school’s closing, many architects continue to recognize the value of Wright’s work. “His philosophy of architecture has proven to be especially prescient,” Kroloff told Hyperallergic. “Wright was way ahead of his time on sustainability and cultural sensitivity.”
Taliesin student Kristin Ross insists there’s no replacement for Wright’s unique approach to learning by doing. She’s one of many students hoping the school can still be saved somehow. “We want this legacy to be there for future generations,” she said.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
In 1850, when Dr. Robert W. Gibbes commissioned J. T. Zealy to make daguerreotypes of persons held in slavery in and around Columbia, South Carolina, for Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz to use in support of his theory that African people were a separate species, daguerreotypes were at the height of fashion.
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.