Portions of the article below appear courtesy of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
Frank Lloyd Wright came to the Scottsdale desert in 1937 and built Taliesin West – a primitive outpost that would become one of the most influential and enduring landmarks of American architecture. That legacy is celebrated this fall at an exhibit and program series at Scottsdale’s Civic Center Library.
Footprints on the Desert: Frank Lloyd Wright in Arizona runs from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31 at the library’s main gallery, located at 3839 N. Drinkwater Boulevard.
“Frank Lloyd Wright believed the United States needed an architecture of its own, but also believed that the dramatically different geographic areas of the country called for designs that were appropriate to their character,” said Margo Stipe, director and curator of collections for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “He was enchanted by Arizona and said it ‘seems to cry out for a space-loving architecture of its own.’”
The American Institute of Architects has called Wright the “greatest American architect of all time.” Celebrate his work with this exhibition, which features images and artifacts connected to notable Wright-designed buildings in the Grand Canyon State, including Taliesin West in Scottsdale, the David & Gladys Wright House in Phoenix and the Harold Price Sr. House in Paradise Valley.
“Footprints on the Desert offers a brief introduction to Wright’s ideas about how to build in the Southwest,” Stipe said. “Centered around Taliesin West, the architect’s iconic winter home here, the exhibit features designs, built and unbuilt, of what both public and private spaces could be when designed with an appreciation for the brutal power and incredible beauty of the desert. The takeaway, we hope, will be inspiration and the understanding that our living spaces matter — and that so much more is possible than most of what is being built today.”
An opening reception will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21. The keynote speaker will be Scottsdale architect Vernon Swaback, a Wright apprentice and former director of planning for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
This project was made possible, in part, by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in cooperation with Scottsdale Public Art, the city of Scottsdale, the Arizona Heritage Center and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
Get information about the exhibition here or call 480-874-4645.
All programs listed below take place at the Civic Center Library during the exhibition’s run.
- The Stones of Taliesin West: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Petroglyphs of Paradise Valley presented by Aaron Wright, Preservation Archeologist with Archeology Southwest in Tucson. 6 p.m., Oct. 3
- * Nature’s Abstractions -- Participants in this all-ages workshop will explore the patterns and shapes found in nature as they draw a Frank Lloyd Wright-style stained glass design. 10:30 a.m. to noon, Monday, Oct. 8
- * Arizona Kids Build presents Let’s Build It! Children in grades 4–6 will learn how to draw to scale and will build a model of a shelter they design in this all-day workshop. Register for one of the two sessions. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Dec. 1
- Organic Architecture and Sustaining Eco System presented by Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 24
- BBC documentary, FLW: The Man Who Built America presented by Jeff Goodman, director of marketing and communications, Frank Lloyd Foundation. 6 p.m., Nov. 7.
- * Inspiring Aspiring Architects. In this workshop for ages 13–18, participants will meet professional architects and work together to design and build models. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10.
Get detailed descriptions of the programs.
* Admission to the Nature’s Abstractions is first come, first served, while registration is required for the Inspiring Aspiring Architects workshop and both Let’s Build It workshops. To make reservations for those activities, contact Brittany Arnold or call 480-874-4630.
Construction closure information: Due to the closure of Drinkwater Boulevard between Indian School Road and Second Street, the northernmost entrance to the library parking structure from the west is closed. The structure can also be accessed from the east near the intersection of 75th Street and Second Street. There is no pedestrian access over the Civic Center Mall overpass above Drinkwater Boulevard. To reach the library from the west side of the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, pedestrians must use the crosswalks at Indian School Road or Second Street to cross Drinkwater Boulevard.