The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s
2021 Annual Report
“I consider myself a success insofar as my life is useful, revealing, and rewarding to my kind.”
—Frank Lloyd Wright
Vision & Mission
In the words of Frank Lloyd Wright, “to make life more beautiful, the world a better one for living in, and to give reason, rhyme, and meaning to life.”
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation inspires people to discover and embrace an architecture for better living through meaningful connections to nature, the arts, and each other.
Stuart I. Graff, President & CEO
Sue Whitmer, Vice President/Chief Finance and Administration Officer
Kimberley Valentine, Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer
Niki Ciccotelli Stewart, Vice President, Chief Learning & Engagement Officer
Adrian Lilly, Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Fred Prozzillo, Vice President of Preservation
Jennifer Gray, Director of Taliesin Institute
Board of Trustees
Seán C. Rush, Chair, Weston, MA
T.K. McClintock, Vice Chair, Cambridge, MA
Joel Benkie, Secretary, Coto de Caza, CA
Timothy Radden, Treasurer, Scottsdale, AZ
John Anderson, Phoenix, AZ
Michael Desmond, Baton Rouge, LA
Mark Dreher, Tempe, AZ
Jason Morris, Phoenix, AZ
Bob Skerker, Buffalo, NY
Diana Smith, Scottsdale, AZ
Anne Stupp, Paradise Valley, AZ
An Extraordinary Position
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation ends 2021 and begins 2022 in an extraordinary position. As a result of generous contributions from donors like you, and with the support of the relief programs that have helped so many people and organizations during this pandemic, the Foundation is in a strong position: our programs, our preservation work, and our financial resources are all the best that they have been in recent memory. We’re happy to share some of the details with you in this Annual Report that covers our fiscal year 2021, (ending July 31 of last year) and highlights from our line-up of robust programs last year.
As detailed elsewhere in the Quarterly, we advanced implementation of our five-year strategic plan to create the new Taliesin Institute. The Institute is a part of the Foundation, focusing on a broad range of work, including the development of a consortium of leading architecture schools and professionals that will send students to study at the two Taliesin campuses, with a particular focus on hands-on work aligned with Wright’s insistence on learning by doing. We’ll also offer public classes, symposia, and workshops that reflect the evolving nature of Wright’s principles of organic design and their relevance to the way we live now, and in the future. Even as the pandemic added delays to implementation with some of our university partners, we were able to welcome students from several leading architecture schools during 2021 to learn things that only time spent at Taliesin and Taliesin West can teach.
We also opened our first-ever major art exhibition at Taliesin West, Chihuly in the Desert, in partnership with Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden, along with exciting new cultural and educational programs.
Four years in development, the show relies on Wright’s principles and integration of human design with the natural environment to create a unique way to view both Taliesin West and Chihuly’s work. Through this effort, thousands of people who had not visited Taliesin West have come and discovered Wright’s architecture for better living, centered on meaningful connections with nature, art, and community. We know from experience these visits drive further interest in Wright’s work and its relevance today — encountering Taliesin West is transformative.
In Wisconsin, we’ve been working closely with our partners at Taliesin Preservation to provide the same sort of experiences at the Taliesin campus. We’ve organized an exhibition entitled Sacred Spaces, featuring the work of photographer Andrew Pielage, that will open at Taliesin this Spring and travel to Taliesin West this Fal l— inviting people to see how Wright’s work embraces a spiritual quality in both buildings and landscapes. As Wright put it, “the Spiritual is never something descending upon the thing from above as a kind of illumination, but exists within the thing itself as its very life. Spirit grows upward from within and outward.”
So, too, does the Foundation. By strengthening our team, our programs, and our financial position, we’re able to do more for our community. Our 2021–25 strategic plan, developed during the pandemic, continues to deliver excellent results. Our work creates millions of dollars of economic impact, enhances the quality of life for our communities, provides unique experiences for our youth, and preserves a historical legacy embodied in these buildings and landscapes. You make all this possible through your participation in our work, and we are grateful to you as we work together toward Wright’s goal “to make life more beautiful, the world a better one for living in, and to give rhyme, reason, and meaning to life.”
President & CEO
Seán C. Rush
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Highlights from 2021
New and Expanded Programs
Niki Stewart joined the Foundation in April of 2021 as our Chief Learning Engagement Officer, after holding previous leadership positions at the Crystal Bridges Museum and Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences. Under her leadership, we used 2021 to work through new programs in all of our public engagement departments—particularly to prepare for Chihuly in the Desert. This exhibition integrates the unique work of two American visionaries inspired by nature—Dale Chihuly and Frank Lloyd Wright—and paves the way for future exhibitions on both campuses. These works not only allow us to see Wright’s architecture for better living in action — connecting us with nature, art, and each other — but serve to introduce new audiences unfamiliar with Wright’s work to our campuses. Additionally, we introduced informal ways to engage with our campuses other than tours, programs that allow visitors to spend time with each other and with Wright’s buildings, art, and landscape at their own pace.
The Success of the Summer
We supported schools and families with new programs on our campuses and online, including virtual field trips and camps. Parents and children enjoyed special homeschool programs using our new outdoor classroom at Taliesin West, which engages youth with the same desert that inspired Wright. Reopening our in-person Camp Taliesin West last year didn’t mean the end of online camps — they continued — and we’ve now expanded our in-person youth programs to include winter and spring break camps in addition to our popular summer camp.
Doing More for Our Communities
The Foundation, along with our partners at Taliesin Preservation, are pleased not only to bring the work of Frank Lloyd Wright to the communities we serve, but also to provide leadership to those communities through our work with schools, volunteer engagement, and economic engagement that serves local businesses, creates jobs, and attracts new residents and employers to join our communities. Though visitation at Taliesin West was reduced by 50% as we worked — successfully — to keep our visitors and staff safe from infection — by summer, visitation at Taliesin could start returning to normal.
Expanding the Legacy
We continued to develop new products through our licensing program, some replicating Wright’s designs and others employing his principles of design to create new works that carry on his legacy. After four years of close collaboration, our partners at Brizo® created a new line of bathroom fixtures: the Frank Lloyd Wright® Bath Collection.
We also expanded our online retail presence to include programs that allow us to offer a wider assortment of products than ever before, through closer integration with our licensees and vendors. This program greatly increased revenues to the Foundation that help support our preservation and programmatic work.
Working for the Next Generation
At Taliesin, we’ve completed the structural work to stabilize and restore the Hillside Theatre, also adding a new accessible pathway and restroom for the comfort of all our guests. Work has commenced to stabilize Wright’s bedroom—a multi-year project that will complete the major structural interventions on the main house at Taliesin. Finally, we’ve started the restoration planning for Midway Barn through our partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Program.
At Taliesin West, restoration of the pools and fountains to a natural concrete finish was completed as we prepared for Chihuly in the Desert and the Garden Room restored to its Wright-era appearance. These projects return the property to their look of the late 1950s. We began engineering work on a project we hope you’ll never notice — the complete replacement of our water and electrical distribution systems. We also continued to improve accessibility with new or enhanced restrooms for the comfort of all our visitors.
Introducing the Taliesin Institute
The Foundation is pleased to announce the creation of the Taliesin Institute. The Institute will embrace a broad range of work including the development of a consortium of leading architecture schools that will send students to study at the two Taliesin campuses, focused on hands-on work aligned with Wright’s insistence on learning by doing. The Institute will also offer public classes, symposia, and workshops that reflect the evolving nature of Wright’s principles of organic design and their enduring relevance now and into the future. Some programs, such as a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Historic Preservation Program, have been operating for several years and will grow through the Institute.
To lead these programs, the Foundation has engaged Jennifer Gray, Ph.D., a noted Wright scholar who recently was the curator of drawings and archives at Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. Gray was responsible for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives, containing more than one million assets including Wright’s drawings, writings, and photography. Dr. Gray is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia and has taught at Cornell University and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). She was the co-curator of the MoMA exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright: Unpacking the Archive. In addition to her expertise on Wright’s work, Dr. Gray’s research explores how designers, notably Dwight Perkins and Jens Jensen, used architecture, cities, and landscapes to advance social and spatial justice at the turn of the 20th century. She is interested in contemporary social practice, curatorial practice, the history of architecture exhibitions, and questions of critical heritage.
“I am very excited to be part of this new venture and look forward to exploring and advancing Wright’s ideas about architecture, education, community, the environment, and more, and how they remain relevant for us today,” Gray said. Currently completing other projects, Dr. Gray will join the Foundation full-time beginning in Summer 2022, saying, “We’ll use the early months to focus on fleshing out the strategic plan for the Institute and then announce specific programs as they are ready to come online. Everything will be done to start with small, focused programs that can be fine-tuned and scaled up as the opportunities allow.”
“It is not enough to present Wright’s work through tours and museum engagement programs,” said Stuart Graff, President and CEO of the Foundation. “Wright intended his Foundation to perpetuate the field of organic architecture, including training architects in his principles of design. Those principles are constantly evolving and changing, because they are built around the way we live and how we embrace new materials, new technologies and a changing culture.”
The Culture of Philanthropy
From Kimberley Valentine, Vice President
and Chief Advancement Officer
Chihuly in the Desert at Taliesin West
December 2, 2021 was a historic day for the Foundation and Taliesin West. Over 400 guests joined as we opened our first-ever major exhibition, Chihuly in the Desert. Members, donors, and guests communed on a warm winter evening amidst the magic of Dale Chihuly glass, artfully integrated in the landscape of Taliesin West. We were honored to celebrate alongside Dale Chihuly and his wife, Leslie.
Community Support: Blue Cross Blue Shield
To our partners at Blue Cross Blue Shield for their support of Chihuly in the Desert both here at Taliesin West and with our collaborative partners at Desert Botanical Garden, we are deeply grateful. We are proud to recognize Blue Cross Blue Shield for their support in the community and special commitment to the success of Chihuly in the Desert.
The Importance of Membership
Finally, thank you to our members and donors for your continued contributions in support of our work. We are endlessly appreciative for our new and renewing members and for those whose support comes at year end. You have been part of making this a successful year.
Getting the Job Done at Taliesin West
Donor Sidney K. Robinson continues to be a beacon of support at Taliesin in Wisconsin. A man of many accomplishments: professor emeritus at University of Illinois-Chicago, architect, author of books and essays on Frank Lloyd Wright, and preservation consultant for Taliesin Preservation and the Hillside Theater Restoration. Sid has stepped up on several occasions to “get the job done.” His most recent gift will allow Hillside Theater to upgrade its streaming capabilities and expand the reach of programming far beyond its physical boundaries. Thank you, Sid!
Special recognition to Board Member Bob Skerker for his recent gift in support of endowment. Bob’s generosity provides for long-term, general operations of the Foundation and secures a legacy for our next generations of visitors, members, and donors. Thank you, Bob!
Donors & Members
2021 Annual Donors
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust
Carol McMullen and Seán Rush
Small Business Administration
Taliesin Preservation, Inc.
Arizona Community Foundation
Mary and Joel Benkie
Debra and Mark R. Dreher, CPA
Dora and Louis Fox Charitable Trust
Erin and Jeff Goodman
Stuart Graff and Rob Chambers
National Endowment for the Humanities National Park Service
Cindy and Laurence Netherton Northwestern Mutual Foundation
Lee and Timothy Radden
Sidney K. Robinson
Scottsdale Arts (Scottsdale Cultural Council)
Robert B. Skerker
Diana and David Smith
Mr. and Mrs. David N. Smith
Anne C. Stupp
Vanguard Group Foundation
Frank Vickory and Newton Linebaugh
180 Degrees, Inc.
Alliant Energy Foundation
Arizona Cardinals Charities
Arizona Historical Records Advisory Board
Sara and Robert Awe
Frederick and Laura Bidwell
Blackbaud Giving Fund
Holly and Tom Carr
City of Scottsdale
Community Foundation For Northern Virginia
Barbara and Steven Crystal
Paul Dengel and Paula Morency
Jeani and Karl Durkheimer
Betty and Bert Feingold
Andrea Glass-Contreras and Charles Foy
Lynne and Jeffrey Grip
Jill and Robert Hartmann
Jarson and Jarson LLC
Holly Johnson Carr and Tom Carr
Rose and Dennis Kleidon
Heather H. Lenkin
Dr. Anita Levin and Mr. John Rafkin
John and Sue Major
Linda and Daniel F. Marquardt
Karen and John Meston
National Endowment for the Arts
Darwina L. Neal
Peter A. Norum
Barbara and W. Kelly Oliver
Lois and Stephen Savage
Hannah and William Scott
Shell Oil Company Foundation
Marsha and John Shyer
Joan and Eugene Smith
Joan and T. E. Smith
Storyrock Development Corporation
Paul T. Walton, Jr. Charitable Foundation
Tracy Wan and Caylyn Creager
Mary and William Way
Karen and Howard Weiner
Susan and Lee Berk
Stefanie and Jerry Cargill
Kathryn and Douglas Collins
Dr. D. Robert Dufour and Dr. Mary C. Dufour
Audrey and Arthur Dyson
Elizabeth and Alan Frigy
Sandy and Michael Horsman
Linda and George Parkins
Partners of Wallace, Plese + Dreher Edward Riegel
William T. Schuyler
Merle H. Sykora and Thomas H. Olson
Dr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Taylor
Caroline and Daniel Tyson
Carol S. Eicher
Mark and Debra Fuller
James S. Hayes and Catherine A. Keig
Randolph C. Henning
Joan M. Johnston
David Kasik and Janet Levine
Gene Knowles and Susan Velasquez
Sydney and James Massee
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith, Inc.
Kendall M Rockwell
Rosa and Raul Rodriguez
Lois and John Rogers
Joan and Jack Shimon
Dr. Scott L. and Mrs. Catherine B. Smith
Carolyn and Mitchell Sutterfield
“Coming to the Frank Lloyd Wright home with its lovely living room and stage always makes us reflect on how at home Larry Berk would have felt here,” Lee and Susan Berk.
The Berks have always been attracted to Frank Lloyd Wright’s love of music that was embodied in Taliesin West. Lawrence “Larry” Berk (Lee’s father, Susan ‘s father-in-law) was an M.I.T. Architecture graduate and pianist, arranger and composer who founded Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Faculty who came to his office often commented on the blueprints piled on his desk as he envisioned the next stages in the growth of the music college.
“I have long admired the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, but I was introduced to the Foundation by one of its trustees, T.K. McClintock. We compared notes on leading arts organizations and his description of the scope and mission of the Foundation intrigued me. A visit with T.K. to Taliesin vividly demonstrated how the work for the restoration and preservation of that property felt entirely contemporary and relevant. The vision of Wright lives on today for anyone who believes that art and design can inspire change and innovation. I am proud to support this organization that celebrates the possibilities of the past, present, and future through the ideas and work of Frank Lloyd Wright.”
“Membership in the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is important to me not only to preserve the classic beauty that is evident in the works of Wright, but of greater impact, to share the legacy of excellence and independent thought as examples for future generations. The message that the staff at Taliesin West convey is an appreciation for the full width and breadth of the man and his works, his strengths and weaknesses, replete with back stories and anecdotal information that paint a picture relatable to everyone. It is an important message, especially in these times, and I recognize, appreciate and fully support the efforts of the Foundation in maintaining this living legacy.”