More than 270 guests were in attendance Saturday, Nov. 1 for the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s presentation of the 2014 Wright Spirit Awards in the Gold Room at the Arizona Biltmore.
Held during the gala dinner capping the 25th anniversary conference held Oct. 29-Nov. 2 in Phoenix, the awards presentation brought together a number of people involved in the Conservancy’s successful effort to save the David and Gladys Wright House in Phoenix, as well as Wright family members and a pair of Wisconsin school teachers representing the fifth grade team at Wakanda Elementary School, which has enriched the lives of more than 850 students through a course based on the life and work of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Recipients included Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton, who delivered a rousing welcome to attendees on the first morning of the conference. New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman received his Wright Spirit Award after delivering the keynote address of the conference to a packed house in the Pavilion at Taliesin West. Ten Wright family members were in attendance as the David and Gladys Wright House Foundation, the organization formed to restore the house and open it to the public, was honored. Wright great-granddaughters Kimberly Lloyd Wright and Anne Lloyd Wright Levi accepted the award on behalf of the foundation and its benefactors.
Complete list of 2014 Wright Spirit Award recipients:
Mayor of Phoenix
David and Gladys Wright House Foundation
Grady Gammage, Jr.
Land use and real estate attorney
"Grady has contributed to the civic, business and cultural life of the Phoenix metropolitan area in manifold ways, ranging from a major law practice focusing on land-use, zoning, and development issues; to teaching at ASU, where he has given a preservation planning course for nearly 25 years; to serving on the board of the Central Arizona Project for 12 years and as an original member of the Phoenix Historical Preservation Commission. When the Conservancy sought someone to help steer the task force leading the effort to save the David and Gladys Wright House through the legal, political, and procedural challenges it would face, Grady was the obvious choice. He was unstinting in the time he gave to the effort and absolutely instrumental to its success by virtue of the wise counsel he gave based on an intimate understanding of the issues and players involved."
Architecture critic for the New York Times
"In the tradition of Ada Louis Huxtable, [Kimmelman] returned the [New York Times] to a form of criticism that took on social, political, urban, and preservation issues in a committed and engaged fashion. While he has written on the work of individual “star architects,” most recently on Jeannie Gang’s Social Justice Center at Kalamazoo College, he has made a most welcome and important contribution by exposing and explaining to the general public the greater social and political purposes of the design of urban spaces and built environments."
President of the Arizona Preservation Foundation
"Much of [McPherson's] volunteer activity is devoted to his passion for preservation. As the President of the Arizona Preservation Foundation, Secretary of the Arizona Heritage Alliance, and board member of Preserve Phoenix, Jim is a critical figure in all preservation activities in the Valley of the Sun. In that capacity, he was instrumental in the effort to save the David and Gladys Wright House. As a member of the task force from its beginning, Jim not only advised on strategy and implementation, he brought together people from various organizations, such as Phoenix Modern, to become part of the fight and himself worked tirelessly at the grass-roots level, attending and speaking at meetings and making sure petitions got circulated and signed."
Scott and Debbie Jarson
Founders of azarchitecture/Jarson & Jarson
"Jarson & Jarson
's passionate commitment to modern architecture extends into the preservation of the modernist legacy. Scott and Debbie Jarson were instrumental in the successful effort to save the Phoenix house Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son David and daughter-in-law Gladys from demolition. They were enthusiastic and effective preservation advocates without whose contributions the effort may not have succeeded."
Wakanda Elementary School – Fifth Grade Team
Representing the Fifth Grade Team: Anne Hasse and Sally Johnson
"Wakanda Elementary School’s Fifth Grade team of teachers–Anne Hasse, Sally Johnson, Brianna Berhow, and Jacob Schutte–championed by their principal Greg Corning and school superintendent, Christine Stratton (who nominated them for this award), have proven that their program “Breaking the Box: The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright” continues to impact the lives of their students, and their parents, their fellow teachers, and of course, the entire Menomonie community. It is a model for the ways in which a new generation, indeed a very young generation, can learn about, interpret, and later preserve, the work and legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright."
Executive Director Janet Halstead also presented this year's Conservancy Award, which goes to an individual who has provided invaluable support to the Conservancy staff, to Linda Botsford, copy editor for SaveWright magazine.
"Linda has been our copy editor for years. She helped us establish our style guideline and participate in the editorial meetings of the Communications Committee. She reviews all the magazine text before it goes to print and reviews many other publications as well, helping us ensure consistency and a professional product. She does this on short deadlines and always with good humor despite the challenges of working with a small organization that is short of financial resources but rich in passion and commitment to the special architectural legacy that draws together all Conservancy members."