Virtual Conference 2020: Saving Wright Now

Thanks for making our 2020 conference a great success!

The Conservancy is grateful to everyone involved in our first-ever virtual conference: sponsors, moderators, presenters, donors, and all who purchased tickets or tuned in for special events. In this unusual year, it was a pleasure to convene such a large, diverse, and widely-dispersed cross-section of the Wright community.

Several conference sessions were available for free to the public. Links to access those sessions are below:

The full conference agenda & promotional material remains below for archival purposes.

2020 Virtual Conference collage

The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s virtual conference, Saving Wright Now, offers an unprecedented chance to convene the global community of Wright specialists and aficionados from November 11-14, 2020. Preservationists, homeowners and public site leaders will participate in lively panel discussions and open their doors to attendees through video and photographic tours, providing a broad look at the current state of the movement to save Wright. From the comfort of home, journey to nearly twenty sites, many not regularly open to visitors—an itinerary that spans Wright’s career and reaches from his Midwestern origins to Japan. Celebrate the vital role that our strong community plays with a special Gala honoring the 2020 Wright Spirit Award recipients, and support the Conservancy’s mission by bidding on unique items and experiences for future enjoyment in our first online silent auction.

Registration Information

All main sessions will stream live in the online event hub, and are included with registration except as otherwise noted. Most session recordings will remain available to registrants to watch for 30 days. AIA continuing education credits will be available. Some events will also be free to the general public without conference registration; these are clearly indicated below and access links will be added closer to the dates.

To register online and pay via credit card, click the button below. If you need to pay by other means, have questions, or require assistance, please contact the office at or 312.663.5500.

Registration rates are as follows:

  • $150: Non-Member General Registration (includes a one year Friend-level membership to the Conservancy)
  • $100: Member General Registration (requires a discount code emailed to all members; contact the office if you have not received your code)
  • $50: Public Site Registration (for employees and leadership-level volunteers at public Wright sites)
  • $25: Student Registration (proof of enrollment will be requested)

Conference Agenda

All times given are Central Standard Time (CST). Details remain subject to change.

Wednesday, November 11

3:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m. CST
Keynote: Preserving Wright in a Time of Change
Justin Gunther, Director, Fallingwater
This year has placed unprecedented stresses on the people and organizations of the preservation world. In this context, Fallingwater Director Justin Gunther’s keynote will take stock of the remarkable assets that exist to promote and protect the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright. Audience expectations continue to evolve, and the Wright community must adapt to continue successfully engaging a broader public.


6:00 p.m. — 7:30 p.m. CST
Wright Sites x PechaKucha
Wright Sites x PechaKucha vol. 2 will feature eight presentations in the highly-visual and efficient PechaKucha style: 20 image-based slides, shown for 20 seconds apiece, with each talk lasting only 400 seconds. This live online global event will celebrate Wright’s work and legacy and highlight some of the many ways that stewards of Wright buildings, both public and private, are Saving Wright Now. Presented jointly with the Westcott House and PechaKucha.
Confirmed presenters:

-Host: Marta Wojcik, Westcott House (Springfield, Ohio)
-Libby Garrison, Marin County Civic Center (San Rafael, California)
-Amanda Hu, David & Gladys Wright House (Phoenix, Arizona)
-Queena Ko, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, New York)
-Doug LaBrecque, Meyer House (Galesburg, Michigan)
-Cat Lenhart, Carolyn and Harold Price, Jr. House (Bartlesville, Oklahoma)
-Mary Beth Peterson, Laurent House (Rockford, Illinois)
-Hannah Shaw, Hollyhock House (Los Angeles, California)
-Steve Sikora, Willey House (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Conference registrants can attend PechaKucha within the event hub. PechaKucha is also free and open to the general public, without conference registration – details here.


Thursday, November 12

10:00 a.m. — 10:25 a.m. CST
Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Annual Meeting
The Executive Director and Board President will provide an overview of the Conservancy’s work over the last year. A vote will be taken on the proposed slate of new Board members.

Conference registrants can attend the Annual Meeting within the event hub. Conservancy members who are not registered for the conference may attend the Annual Meeting free of charge by completing this form.


10:30 a.m. — 11:30 a.m. CST
Roundtable: The Future of the Wright Public Site
Serving as anchors in their communities, public sites are the entry point for millions to a greater understanding of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. They make up a significant 15% share of his surviving buildings, so their continued success is critical. Leaders of four Wright public sites will share their perspectives on engaging audiences and touch on challenges and opportunities created by the pandemic.

Confirmed presenters:
-Moderator: Mary Roberts, Martin House (Buffalo, New York)
-Jill Greenwood, Weltzheimer/Johnson House (Oberlin, Ohio)
-Libby Jordan, Rosenbaum House (Florence, Alabama)
-Mike Lilek, Burnham Block (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
-Carrie Rodamaker, Taliesin Preservation (Spring Green, Wisconsin)


12:00 p.m. — 12:30 p.m. CST
Wright Virtual Visits: Taliesin West & Unity Temple
The co-organizers of Wright Virtual Visits will go live side-by-side on Facebook video to reflect on six months of this popular collaboration involving over 20 Wright public sites.
Confirmed presenters:

-Host: Eric Rogers, Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy
-Jeff Goodman, Taliesin West
-Heidi Ruehle, Unity Temple

This event is free and open to the public. Let us know you plan to tune in by RSVPing to the Facebook event. The video will stream live on the Conservancy’s Facebook page. No registration or Facebook account required to view.


12:00 p.m. — 1:00 p.m. CST
Virtual Lunch Meet-Up for Current and Past Thorpe Fellows
An informal lunchtime gathering of past and current recipients of the John G. Thorpe Young Professionals & Students Fellowship. Join other young professionals from around the world as we discuss our interest in preserving Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy. By invitation only.


3:00 p.m. — 4:30 p.m. CST
Roundtable & Tour: Prairie Houses for the 21st Century
Prairie-period houses remain well suited to contemporary living thanks to updates made by passionate stewards. This session brings owners and architects of four Prairie-period houses together to discuss sensitive and sustainable approaches to restoration, and showcases their work through video tours.
Session sponsored by Indow.

Confirmed presenters:
-Moderator: Douglas Gilbert, architect
-Amy & Eric Bauer, Baker House (Wilmette, Illinois)
-John Eifler, Dorothy and William Ross House (Glencoe, Illinois)
-Andrea Kayne and Andy Mead, Laura Gale House (Oak Park, Illinois)


5:00 p.m. — 6:00 p.m. CST
Leadership Circle Reception & Tour of Teater’s Knoll
Travel to Bliss, Idaho, for an exclusive video tour of Teater’s Knoll, an intimate space built as an art studio, perched high on a bluff overlooking the Snake River. Following the tour, join owner Henry Whiting for virtual fireside cocktails and conversation as we learn about the preservation of this retreat over the last 38 years.

By invitation only to Conservancy members at the Leadership Circle level or above. Learn more about membership


Friday, November 13

10:00 a.m. — 11:30 a.m. CST
Roundtable & Tour: Partners in Advocacy: Saving Booth Cottage
In July, the Wright community watched as the Booth Cottage rolled a few hundred yards to its new site, a park in Glencoe, Illinois. The short physical distance of the move belied the long and coordinated effort that it took to save and relocate the cottage. Representatives from several of the entities involved will discuss the team effort it took to reach a successful preservation outcome. Attendees will get an exclusive look inside the relocated cottage prior to restoration, and enjoy video highlights from a walking tour of Wright’s Ravine Bluffs development, to which the cottage is so closely linked.

Confirmed presenters:
-Moderator: Barbara Gordon, Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy
-Karen Ettelson, Glencoe Historical Society
-Phil Kiraly, Village of Glencoe
-Carmen Korleski, TAWANI Foundation and Emil Bach House
-Lisa Sheppard, Glencoe Park District
-Peter Van Vechten, Glencoe Historic Preservation Commission


3:00 p.m. — 4:30 p.m. CST
Roundtable & Tours: Last Resorts: Relocation of Wright Structures
It is axiomatic that Wright’s built works are organically related to their sites, but in exceptional circumstances the Conservancy has supported or actively worked to facilitate relocation of a threatened building to a different setting. This panel discussion will explore the challenging process required to determine that relocation is the most viable way to preserve a Wright-designed building for the long term. Video tours will showcase several notable examples of relocated Wright buildings.

Confirmed presenters:
-Moderator: Tim Quigley, architect
-Kim Knox, Gordon House (Silverton, Oregon)
-Tom Papinchak, Polymath Park: Lindholm House and Duncan House (Acme, Pennsylvania)
-Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino, former owners of Bachman-Wilson House (Bentonville, Arkansas)
-Ashley Wilson, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Pope-Leighey House (Alexandria, Virginia)


7:00 p.m. — 8:00 p.m. CST
Homeowners & Public Sites Preservation Happy Hour
The Homeowners & Public Sites dinner at the Conservancy’s annual conference has traditionally provided a forum for building stewards to meet, exchange ideas and socialize. This year’s virtual conference offers the opportunity for stewards who might not normally be able to attend in person to take part in this special evening. This happy hour will feature preservation-focused video tours of the Hillside Theater curtain restoration at Taliesin with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s Ryan Hewson and the Lovness Estate (Stillwater, Minnesota) with owners Ted and Debi Muntz. By invitation only to homeowners and public site administrators.


Saturday, November 14

10:00 a.m. — 11:30 a.m. CST
Roundtable & Tours: Preserving Wright’s Usonian Automatics
Wright’s seven Usonian Automatic houses, built in the 1950s, married the pre-cast block technology of his 1920s textile-block houses with Usonian design principles. This unique construction system creates dramatic shelters that require specialized restoration practices. Stewards of three Usonian Automatics share their restoration experiences through a combination of panel discussion and video tours.

Confirmed presenters:
-Moderator: Larry Woodin, Tracy House (Normandy Park, Washington)
-Safina Uberoi, Tonkens House (Cincinnati, Ohio)
-Norm Morgan and Dale Silk, Turkel House (Detroit, Michigan)


5:00 p.m. — 6:30 p.m. CST
Roundtable & Tours: Preserving Wright in Japan
Japan was a major source of inspiration for Wright and is home to several significant works from the late 1910s and early 1920s. This roundtable of Japan-based Wright experts will examine the unique challenges of preserving Wright’s work there and the ways those efforts have impacted Japanese thinking about historic preservation. Video tours will highlight the reconstructed lobby of Wright’s seminal Imperial Hotel at Meiji-mura, the Jiyu Gakuen Girls’ School in Tokyo and the recently-restored Yamamura House in Ashiya.
Confirmed presenters:

-Moderator: Jane King Hession, writer & architectural historian
-Yutaka Mizukami, University of Hyogo
-Koichi Mori and Karen Severns, Tokyo-based Wright experts, KiSMet Productions


7:00 p.m. — 8:30 p.m. CST
Gala: Wright Spirit Awards & Silent Auction
Close out the virtual conference with a very special gala evening celebrating the Wright community. Learn about the extraordinary achievements recognized by the 2020 Wright Spirit Awards, underwritten by Ron and Jan Scherubel, and toast the honorees. Then get excited about the Conservancy’s silent auction and raffle, taking place online this year, with all proceeds supporting our mission. Live from the Tonkens House (Cincinnati, Ohio), we’ll highlight some of the rare memorabilia, artwork, books, and exclusive experiences that are available. Bidding will close at 9 p.m. Central time, shortly after the end of the live gala event.

Conference registrants can attend the Gala within the event hub. The Gala is also free and open to the general public, without conference registration. Check back for access information.

Conference registration is not required to bid in the silent auction or participate in the raffle; details will be available here.


Sunday, November 15

5:00 p.m. — 6:00 p.m. CST
Panel Discussion about the film: Unity Temple: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Modern Masterpiece
Unofficial post-conference event: Stream an exclusive preview of the forthcoming film about Unity Temple, by Lauren Levine with narration by Brad Pitt, then tune in for a panel discussion featuring experts involved in the recent restoration.

Confirmed presenters:
-Moderator: Lauren Levine, filmmaker
-Gunny Harboe, architect
-Dorothy Krotzer, historic preservation expert
-Joe Siry, architectural historian
-Julie Sloan, stained glass consultant

To attend this event, purchase a $20 ticket to preview the film, which you can stream anytime from October 30-November 15. Proceeds support wider distribution of the film and benefit Unity Temple, Fallingwater, Taliesin, Taliesin West, and Hollyhock House.


Conference Sponsors

Presenting Partner

TAWANI Property Management


Major Partner
Safina Uberoi and Lukas Ruecker

Conference Partner
Kelly Jones

George Meyer
Indow, session sponsor: Prairie Houses for the 21st Century
SC Johnson

Architectural Resources Group
Berglund Construction
CYLA Design Associates, Inc. Landscape Architecture & Planning
Heritage Tile
The Kubala Washatko Architects
Westcott House

Wright Spirit Awards
Underwritten by Ron and Jan Scherubel

Posted on September 25, 2020

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