News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

National Park Service Awards Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Grant to Restore Taliesin Theatre

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Sep 24, 2018

The “Save America’s Treasures” grant has awarded $320,000 toward a full restoration of the Hillside Theatre.

The National Park Service, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, announced today that the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (Foundation) is the recipient of a $320,000 Save America’s Treasures  grant toward the restoration of the Hillside Theatre at Taliesin, near Spring Green.

The Hillside Theatre restoration project is one of only 16 projects funded by the $4.8 million distributed in the Save America’s Treasures program, which supports preservation of nationally-significant historic properties throughout the country. Together with local nonprofit partners, National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith said, “each grant will enable a community to save an important piece of history and have a positive impact on the surrounding area.”

“Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hillside Theatre at Taliesin played an important role in the history of Southwest Wisconsin and in the history of America,” said Stuart Graff, Foundation president and CEO.  “We’re excited to secure this funding so that the Hillside Theatre can once again play a dynamic role in this community.”

The Foundation is partnering with Taliesin Preservation, Inc. (TPI) on this project. TPI works collaboratively with the Foundation to preserve Taliesin, and conducts tour, educational and cultural programming that provides a greater understanding of Wright’s architecture and ideas. The two organizations are working with local and national foundations, corporations, and private donors to provide over half a million dollars in matching funds for this $867,000 restoration project, which is comprised of three components: elimination of water infiltration, rehabilitation of the lower level of the theatre, and restoration of the Hillside Theatre.

Restoration of the Hillside Theatre and its entry foyer will return the audience and performance spaces to their historic operational capacity, comfort, and beauty.  All mechanical and electrical systems will be rehabilitated to support expanded programmatic and seasonal use.

Annual Frank Lloyd Wright birthday celebration at Taliesin and Hillside School and Theater, Saturday June 11, 2016. (c) Mark Hertzberg

Storm water runoff, the main cause of water infiltration, will be addressed by regrading, installation of site drainage, and damp proofing of underground exterior walls. Structural issues will then be corrected in the basement by repairing failing floor beams and pouring a new concrete slab. This will allow for aesthetic improvements and the rehabilitation of the lower level to accommodate new restrooms, a green room, and storage to help support theatre operations.

Each of these factors make the comprehensive restoration of the Hillside Theatre a national priority, for which Congress will appropriate funding from the Historic Preservation Fund, which uses revenue from federal oil leases to provide preservation assistance without expending tax dollars. The program requires applicants to match the grant money dollar-for-dollar with funds from non-federal sources, leveraging millions in private and public investment.

Learn more about how you can help support this project and other preservation efforts

Photo: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hillside Home School, Spring Green, Wisconsin, Friday September 8, 2017.  (c) Mark Hertzberg