The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation have teamed up to keep the doors open, virtually speaking, at a slew of buildings designed by America’s most well-known architect.
Kicking off last week on April 2, the #WrightVirtualVisits campaign showcases an assortment of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings every Thursday at 12:00 p.m. Central Time for six weeks (and maybe more). Each week, the conservators of a specific Wright site will share a short yet intimate video tour on its website and associated social media pages of another Wright site. It’s a touch confusing, but the idea is that each respective site has its own built-in social media following and that by sharing virtual tours of a different building Wright buffs and more casual admirers alike will be exposed to new works that they might not have been previously familiar with. Each week, two fresh Wright properties will partake in this virtual tour swap.
“These tours will help each site’s social media followers discover and experience new places, and raise public awareness for all of these important landmarks,” the Conservancy elaborated in a news release that also lists the participating sites.
Buildings that have been featured already or are up to bat in the coming weeks include the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois; the Hollyhock House, recently named as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Los Angeles; Chicago’s Prairie School stunner, the Emil Bach House; Taliesin West, home of the (possibly) defunct School of Architecture at Taliesin, in Scottsdale, Arizona; the stunning yet often-overlooked Graycliff estate outside of Buffalo, New York; Samara, a pristine Usonian design in West Lafayette, Indiana; the Gordon House, the only Wright building in Oregon, and, of course, Fallingwater.
We’re looking forward to getting a glimpse of Graycliff tomorrow at noon! Join us on the shores of Lake Erie for the second of our #WrightVirtualVisits #stayhome #FrankLloydWright #architecture #tour (📷: Meccay Photography) pic.twitter.com/nAQzK5TEJY
— Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (@SaveWrightFLWBC) April 8, 2020
While 13 different Wright sites are currently listed on the swap-ready roster, there’s a chance that more could join the campaign. What’s more, some more high-profile Wright sites like the Hollyhock House already offer virtual tours and other digital experiences outside of the #WrightVirtualVisits initiative.
Many of the featured sites, which represent a geographic mix and variety of styles from Wright’s long and prolific career, are normally open for public tours and programming. Most have now been shuttered to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy notes, these necessary closures have resulted in budget shortfalls and furloughed staffers.
Don’t forget, tomorrow (Thursday) at 10am (AZ), we’ll be swapping videos with the @GordonHouse_57 in Oregon. Follow along with #WrightVirtualVisits to see all of the Wright sites’ video swaps! Learn more here: https://t.co/FktPzuujFx
Drawing by Michael Pipher. pic.twitter.com/hhKMUZC6mZ
— Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (@WrightTaliesin) April 8, 2020
The hope is that even though the virtual tours are free, digital visitors might still feel inclined to demonstrate a bit of largesse through a donation to their favorite site or, even better, extended that generosity to a new Wright landmark visited during one of the weekly swaps. The Conservancy also notes that some open-to-the-public Wright sites are currently closed even to staff and, in turn, could not participate in the #WrightVirtualVisits initiative. And they too need help.
“It is precisely at this time, when so many are shut inside, that we need to experience beauty and inspiration,” said Barbara Gordon, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, in a statement announcing the initiative. “Wright’s works bring people together in harmony with the natural world, reminding us that we are all connected, even when we’re apart.”