PHOENIX – The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture has reached a $2 million fundraising goal that will keep it from shutting down.
The Scottsdale-based Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation announced Tuesday that the school’s doors would remain open, The Arizona Republic reports (http://bit.ly/1IqGKoW).
The institution’s future has been up in the air after it lost accreditation status last year. The Chicago-based Higher Learning Commission, which accredits universities and colleges, decided it would no longer recognize schools that are part of larger institutions with missions beyond education.
Because the foundation also oversees historical-building preservation and the Wright archives in New York, the academic program must be incorporated as a financially independent subsidiary. The $2 million will help make that happen.
The foundation and architecture school is now working on a “change of control” application to the Higher Learning Commission, including legal and incorporation documents. The commission is expected to review the application in June. If approved, the school can file documents with both federal and state agencies. The process is expected to be completed by 2017.
Wright, who died in 1959, designed 1,141 architectural works. More than one-third of his buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or are in a National Historic District.
The school operates at two campuses, Taliesin West in Scottsdale and Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Students attend the Scottsdale campus in the spring and fall terms, with summer classes held in Wisconsin. The school offers a three-year master’s program and has continued to admit students since the accreditation change.
The Frank Lloyd Wright school had only 23 students during the recent fall term, making it likely the nation’s smallest accredited, degree-granting architecture program. Dean Aaron Betsky said the school hopes to grow to around 40 to 45 students by 2019 and eventually 60 to 65 students.
More than 217 individuals, foundations and corporations contributed to the $2 million “independence campaign.” Donors included several high-profile architects such as Wright’s grandson Eric Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry, known for the design of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain.
Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com