To our friends and supporters:
The 2017-2018 academic year marked the first of independence for the School of Architecture at Taliesin, and, though still in its nascent stages, the School is thriving. The School received glowing remarks from the re-accreditation team of the Higher Learning Committee, which confirmed that the School met its criteria for re-accreditation. The National Architectural Accrediting Board has been similarly complimentary of the School’s progress, and the School remains on the Board’s eight year accreditation cycle.
The School is also extremely grateful to have had the privilege of using the David and Gladys Wright House as a learning center for graduate architectural students and for academic lectures. Through its Lecture Series, the School has used the House to promote youth engagement and expand access to local Title One high schools, providing minority and low income teenagers private tours of the House with the School’s students and faculty, dinner with the community, and a remarkable educational experience. Through the collaborative partnership between the School and the House, the School produced several video interviews with world renowned architects, including Wendell Burnette, Will Bruder, and Fernando Romero. Those video interviews remain online to educate and provide the public with virtual access to the House through social media. In short, the partnership between the School and the House enabled the School to expand its footprint and living architectural laboratory to the geographical heart of the Valley, allowing it to more fully engage the local community.
The relationship between the School and the House is formally manifested in the David Wright House Collaborative Fund, a supporting organization of the Arizona Community Foundation. The principal focus of the David Wright House Collaborative Fund was to develop a vehicle to raise the $7 million endowment on which the pledge of the House for the benefit of the School was conditioned. Over the past year, we have learned that the fundraising timetables of both parties do not lend themselves to a joint campaign. With the School in its fledgling years, the prevailing thought was that the divergent donor interests would effectively divide its support base rather than enhance it. Uncertainty regarding future capital improvements at the House and the long-term cultural development of the site in Phoenix increased this concern. For this reason, by mutual agreement and out of mutual respect, the School and the David Wright House team have decided to proceed independent of one another going forward. The David Wright House Collaborative Fund, which was established primarily to benefit this partnership, will be dissolved, and the remaining proceeds will be donated to the School.
We have enjoyed working in partnership over the past year and will continue as friends, architectural enthusiasts, and supporters of the cultural community.
- Aaron Betsky and Zach Rawling