News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Virtual Camp: Our Digital Summer in Review

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Aug 31, 2020

When the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation first learned of the stay-at-home orders in March 2020, we immediately knew that the youth summer camps planned on-site at Taliesin West would need to transform with lightning speed in order to save them. We had no idea what that would look like, so an entirely new concept of camp was born. We invite you to take a look back with us at the Foundation’s first ever Virtual Art & Architecture Summer Camp.

The unexpected circumstances of 2020 compelled the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Education team to come up with a new, and free way to best serve the community, parents, and K-12 children during such turbulent times. The Foundation’s educators and public engagement staff were determined to quickly launch a virtual format of camp instilled with innovative Wright-inspired, STEAM-based learning for families in need around the globe.

A new format for Frank Lloyd Wright Art & Architecture Camp is born:

  • Through Zoom, two-week versions of virtual camp were created, with four available sessions over the summer for families to choose from
  • The Education team taught a total of eight weeks of virtual summer camps in 2020
  • 233 parents signed their kids up and 168 kids completed the two week sessions in their entirety

Virtual Camp stats at a glance:

  • 149 out 168 students came from Arizona.  The remaining campers came from around the country and world. We had 3 campers from Puerto Rico, 1 from Canada, and multiple who logged in while traveling around abroad.
  • 75% of campers reported having A LOT of fun at camp. 25% reported having fun at camp. 0% reported having no fun at camp.
  • 97% of campers reported that they learned something new at camp.
  • 70% of parents said they were extremely satisfied with Frank Lloyd Wright Art & Architecture virtual summer camps and that their camper will join us again for in-person or virtual camps. 15% percent said they were satisfied and would join us again. 10% gave an average rating, or below average satisfaction rating.

What did we do with our summer campers?

Week 1

The first Monday started with an introduction to camp. Campers shared their names, the Foundation teachers shared theirs, and the group talked about what would be accomplished over the two weeks. Next, the educators moved onto teaching the students how to make a basic floor plan (bubble floor plan), about geometric shapes and angles, and campers took a virtual tour of Taliesin West to demonstrate them how Wright used shapes and organic architecture.

Week 2

Campers moved into the next week by beginning to talk about where they want their dream home to be located. Students worked on activities based on the environment and educators spoke to them about solutions to environmental impacts on their homes. Next campers created an advanced floor plan from their bubble floor plan, learned about scaling, and worked on an activity based around interior design and creating a collage. Foundation staff followed this with another virtual architectural tour where campers got to choose a Frank Lloyd Wright home they wanted to tour. The top Wright home favorites among campers were always the Pope-Leighy House and Hollyhock House. The students finished their two-week virtual camp by making a 3D model based off their final floor plan in either a CAD program or game ( Minecraft, crafty land, SketchUp) or they also had the option to make their floor plan from recycled materials like foam core or cardboard.

What parents are saying:

“This camp is wonderful!!! I am so impressed….I love all the interaction between instructors and campers, including the fact that you call on campers to participate; the interaction among campers in break-out rooms; engaging activities, including trivia questions, surveys, links for design.  The overall camp structure with introducing FLW, virtual tours of his homes/schools, and gradually introducing design concepts and building upon them has been absolutely terrific. My girls are loving the camp and learning so much!  They have been spending a LOT of time on the Home Design 3D app for the past week.  We were looking at dimensions last night and realized that Alexandra’s dream house is as wide as a football field! Ha, Ha. I think it is great! It has been a wonderful learning experience.  I’m so grateful you hosted another camp in July.  Thank you so much!”

“This was the best online camp (or online school class) my children have participated in. It is a true skill to engage with children over Zoom and Natalie has it! I loved the whole arc of the content and how it covered so many aspects of design and engineering. We live in Nashville so this was a unique opportunity for our two children to engage with the FLW center and we truly appreciate it! Thank you.”

“Aaron REALLY enjoyed the camp and the instructors.  He actually built several houses, one that looked just like his bubble floor plan, then kept adding new homes with new features as he did more research. I asked what he learned that he did not know before, and he shared a lot of information from scaling and bubble Floorplans, to thinking about environmental impact of the building location, not just ground work, but also the features of the home and landscaping around it. He was not as crazy about the interior design portion, but it has him thinking about new concepts which is wonderful to see.  Thank you SO much for offering this virtually!  I learned some new things as well.”

“Thank you for wonderful experience. Specially this time, your program kept my child exciting and looking forward to learn something new. When COVID hit feel like everything disconnected, your two weeks program meant a lot for us to participate and provide learning opportunity. Thank you for your work and I am looking forward to see new lesson for next class!!”

We are thrilled to announce that registration is now open for Camp Taliesin West! This summer, we’ll have two exciting options for campers: in-person camp onsite at Frank Lloyd Wright’s renowned home in Arizona, and Virtual Camp, also streaming direct from Wright’s famed Sonoran Desert laboratory. Camp Taliesin West sessions begin in June 2021, with later options in July and August. Serving youth from 7 to 16, campers can explore a variety of adventures in architecture, science, engineering, art, and photography. 

learn more about camp taliesin West



News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation