A Springtime Celebration: Easter at Taliesin West
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Apr 2, 2021
Each year, the Wrights and the Taliesin Fellowship would host a colorful, lively Easter celebration on the grounds of Taliesin West. Guests traveled to enjoy this annual tradition full of music, food, and fun that helped mark the end of spring.
Easter at Taliesin West was a spirited annual celebration that Frank and Olgivanna Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship fondly looked forward to each year. The big celebration helped signify the changing season; following Easter, Wright and the Fellowship would head back to Taliesin in Wisconsin as the spring semester came to a close. They would invite guests from afar to partake in this special, elaborate tradition.
Olgivanna and the apprentices would prepare for the big Easter brunch days in advance, working hard to make each year even more grand than the last. They spent much time in the kitchen baking delicious foods including baba bread and pascha cheese, traditional Russian Easter dishes that Olgivanna had enjoyed since she was a young child. They would also participate in vigorous choir and band rehearsals, as music was a large part of the event. They created beautiful hand-painted eggs with ornate designs that often mimicked famous artwork. When the long-awaited day finally came, hundreds of guests gathered to enjoy a delicious meal and great company, as wonderful music filled the air, and children hunted for Easter eggs.
In an excerpt from Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer’s book, “The Life of Olgivanna Lloyd Wright,” Olgivanna reflected on the Easter celebration in 1959, Wright’s last Easter before his passing in April of that year:
“Easter day on March 29 was the happiest one of all the 37 years of our life together. It was a beautiful morning, full of sunlight. We both dressed in white. I went early to Frank’s room to wish him a Happy Easter. We walked out to greet our young people and our guests. Balloons flew everywhere. Tables were spread with flowers, babas rose from circles of multicolored eggs, and pascha cheese shimmered white in garlands of blossoms and leaves. We sat down at the long row of tables and listened to the singing of our choir – the voices rose, the music echoed in the vastness of the desert space and sky. We ate gaily and like children broke the eggs end to end. Happy and free we laughed, immersed in purity of spirit.”
It was customary for vibrant flower arrangements and bright balloons to adorn Taliesin West, adding to the already vivid colors of the desert in full spring bloom.