The public is invited to enjoy special evening tours at the Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site in Springfield, IL on Wednesdays and Fridays during the holiday season from Nov. 17 to Dec. 20.
Thirty-minute evening tours of the historic home will highlight more than 40 interior holiday designs and four trees decorated by the national award-winning Springfield Civic Garden Club. All tours - which start every half hour from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - will begin at the front door along Lawrence Avenue. Reservations through Eventbrite are strongly encouraged.
Celebrating historical and cultural connections of art and architecture, the garden club has selected Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, as the theme for the 2023 holiday floral designs. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was significantly influenced by Japanese art and architecture. He became a devoted collector of Japanese woodblock prints early in his career, and his enthusiasm is evident in the design of the Dana-Thomas House. Furthering his interest, Wright visited Japan for the first time the year after the Dana-Thomas House was complete.
"We have dozens of volunteers who donated more than 600 hours this year to create 40 unique floral designs, including four stunning trees," site superintendent Justin Blandford said. "The Dana-Thomas House is an architectural and historical treasure, and the extraordinary effort of our volunteers truly makes the holiday experience at the site extra special for Illinois residents and our guests."
Festive Fridays begin Friday, Nov. 17 and continue Nov. 24, Dec. 1, Dec. 15, and Dec. 22 from 4-7 p.m. In addition to tours of the historic mansion, hot cocoa and s'mores will be available in the courtyard and take-home crafts will be offered for younger guests.
Dana-Thomas House Wednesday evening holiday tours begin Nov. 22 and continue Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13, and Dec. 20 from 4-7 p.Art Glass at Night, a specialty tour, will be offered on two Saturdays - Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 at 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. And on Dec. 17, a special artifact-based program, "Treasures: Wright and Japan," will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Reservations, which are strongly encouraged because of capacity limits on tours, can be made through the State Historic Sites Springfield website or by calling the Dana-Thomas House at 217-782-6776. All tours are free, and donations in support of local historic sites are welcome.
Built between 1902 and 1904, the Dana-Thomas House is perhaps the best preserved of Wright's prairie style homes, with more than 400 pieces of specially made art glass and original furnishings. The site, which is managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23; on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24; on Christmas Day, Dec. 25; on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31; and on New Year's Day, Jan. 1.
A hulking mass of stone, Chicago, IL’s Auditorium Theatre has, since its completion in 1889 amassed an impressive list of superlatives.
At the time, the theater, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., was not only the tallest building in the city, but also the largest and the heaviest. In fact, in addition to being the most expensive building in Chicago, it was also the largest in the country. Some opined that it was the largest, tallest and heaviest to be constructed since the Great Pyramids.
It was designed by no less than Adler & Sullivan in a style popularized by Henry Hobson Richardson, called, appropriately Richardsonian Romanesque.
And, to help prepare the reams of drawings required to build it, architect Louis Sullivan hired a young draftsman from Wisconsin named Frank Lloyd Wright.
Best of all, despite struggles over the years, the Auditorium Theatre not only continues to operate, hosting concerts and other events, but it’s as beautiful as ever. And you can take a tour that will lead you through the lobby, the dressing rooms and other back of house spaces, the rows of seats, the opera boxes and even onto the stage.
The building was the dream of Chicago real estate magnate Ferdinand Peck who was also a philanthropist and patron of the arts. The story goes that after the Haymarket Square riot in 1886, Peck’s urge to bring high art to the working classes kicked into high gear and he called on architects Adler & Sullivan to realize this vision. Less utopian folks think Peck just wanted Chicago to leapfrog New York as America's cultural city.
In order to pay for what Peck wanted to be the world’s most impressive theater, he instructed Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan – among the fathers of the skyscraper – to design a structure that could house such a venue, but also fund itself.
Thus the architects drew (and re-drew and re-drew) an impressive $3.2 million (about $80 million in today’s cash) complex with not only a 4,200-seat theater and a 500-seat recital hall, but also 136 rentable stores and offices, and a 400-room hotel with accompanying amenities.
“Peck’s trust in Adler & Sullivan was not share by many of the wealthyand influential businessmen who joined to finance the venture,” wrote Tim Samuelson in “Louis Sullivan’s Idea.”
“Some backers attempted to throw the project to more experienced firms with stronger social and business connections, but Peck persevered, awarding Adler & Sullivan the coveted commission for what at the time was the largest building project in the country.”
But, Samuelson adds, Peck had to allow his financial partners some leeway and, “before construction began, the organizers felt compelled to have the preliminary design reviewed by the respected Boston architect and educator William R. Ware, who had headed MIT’s architectural program during Sullivan’s brief studies there.
“Ware not only approved the project but also reportedly commented that if Adler & Sullivan’s design had been his, he would have regarded it as the inspiration of his life.”
When the building opened Adler & Sullivan moved their offices to the 16th and 17th floors of the Auditorium tower.
The Congress Plaza Hotel across the street, which opened in 1893, was built as an annex to the Auditorium Hotel, which was very popular when it opened, as were the office spaces.
But that popularity did not endure and by 1941, the Auditorium Theater closed for more than two decades. The building was bought in 1947 by Roosevelt University, which considered turning the shuttered concert hall into parking for students.
But thankfully, that did not happen. Instead, the university leases the theater to an independent non-profit arts organization that has, since the 1960s, undertaken renovations and hosted operas, plays, concerts and other events.
The venue reopened in 1967. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places three years later. Auditorium Tours take place Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays at noon, and Thursdays at 6 p.m.
Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ announced the return of its biannual Discovery Day event Saturday, Dec. 9, offering visitors a discounted opportunity to dive into the realms of art, architecture and nature while exploring Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and studio at their own pace.
This family-friendly, immersive experience provides guests the ability to explore this site as well as bring art, culture and history to life. The event is $5 for adults and free for children age 12 and younger. Advance reservations for an entry time slot are required. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors of all ages can immerse themselves in the essence of the iconic architect's work and philosophy through performances, interactive demonstrations and hands-on crafts led by various Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation staff members, including:
The “American Icons: Wright and O’Keeffe” exhibition provides a behind-the-scenes look at photographs, including some never-before-seen images of Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia O’Keeffe taken by Michael A. “Tony” Vaccaro while on assignment for LOOK Magazine from 1957 to 1960. Discovery Day visitors can explore this limited-time exhibition, which is normally only available to experience through a paid tour.
There will also be a live taiko drumming performance by Ken Koshio and Koshio Gumi as they take guests through a journey of this ancient Japanese style of music, as well as a hands-on lab with the Preservation department and live demonstrations by local artisans. Children of all ages can build forts on the Music Pavilion utilizing natural materials from the surrounding environment and individuals can watch a series of archival videos depicting the history of Taliesin West in the Cabaret Theater.
There will be information on the art of block printing with the Youth & Families department, Tai Chi led by Rasoul Amin Sobhani, a nature abstraction craft station and a variety of partner booths, including McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, Scottsdale Community College and HarumiYoga+.
Foundation staff members will be positioned throughout Taliesin West at “Ask Me” stations to answer questions about the history of Wright’s winter home and studio and to help guests navigate all the day has to offer.
By the time 2024 is rung in, the 1916-7 Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Bogk House in Milwaukee, WI at 2420 N. Terrace Ave., should have a new owner. According to Realtor Melissa LeGrand of LeGrand Real Estate / Christie’s International Real Estate, the home drew three offers in its first week on the market. It is now under contract – along with its furnishings for an undisclosed price – and, LeGrand added, the sale will close at the end of December.
The home, which was built for politician and businessman Frederick Bogk and has had only a few owners in its more than century of life, was listed for sale in September. The East Side house was listed for $1.5 million, with the furnishings offered separately, as a unit, before they were to be offered through Christie’s auction house for an expected result “around $900,000.”