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Wright Restoration Funds

 
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PrairieMod



Joined: 24 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:26 pm    Post subject: Wright Restoration Funds Reply with quote

I've posted an entry and link on www.PrairieMod.com about the proposed earmarking of $3.1 million dollars of Illinois state funds for upgrades and renovations to the Dana Thomas House in Springfield. While this is important I raise the point that an equally important need exisits to have monies earmarked for the Unity Temple in Oak Park...a project that needs a heck of a lot more in the way of restoration and immediate need.



I wanted to raise the question of why it seems the Unity Temple is consistantly overlooked for restoration money. It's need and importance culturally is on par with other major Wright restorations (Fallingwater, Taliesin, etc) but it seems to have been largely overlooked. What do people on Wright Chat thought about this?
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robertstar
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:03 pm    Post subject: Unity Temple Reply with quote

Unity Temple does not receive government money because it would violate the convention of the separation of church and state.
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FrankFan
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Unity Temple Reply with quote

robertstar wrote:
Unity Temple does not receive government money because it would violate the convention of the separation of church and state.




Wouldn't you think that the cultural significance of this structure would trump that convention? We're not talking about a St. Luke's Church that was built in 1960-something by an unknown architect.
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Elaine W
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:59 pm    Post subject: UTRF Reply with quote

Actually, that's not exactly true regarding UT & government funds--there is a separate entity, Unity Temple Restoration Foundation, which is eligible to get funds from such sources.
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PrairieMod



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Louis Sullivan church that burned in Chicago received a million dollars from the state and they don't have an non-secular, non-for-profit organization associated like the Unity Temple. So I don't think that separation point rings true.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PrairieMod wrote:
The Louis Sullivan church that burned in Chicago received a million dollars from the state and they don't have an non-secular, non-for-profit organization associated like the Unity Temple. So I don't think that separation point rings true.


The state money is for the school and offices, not the church so separation of church and state is maintained. The property is typically subdivided. The "communty facilities" organization is typically separate from the church organization.
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pharding



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made the above post. Sorry.
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Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn
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PrairieMod



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that the Unity Temple congregation and LPCI have some sort of shared ownership agreement. Plus UTRF is a secular non-for-profit that is largely responsible for all the restoration projects. Wouldn't that satisfy the church and state separation?



Does it boil down to an image/marketing problem for this building? It's so significant architecturally (the argument could be made that it's Wright's most significant work) I would hope that would trump everything else. If you were in charge of trying to raise money for restoring this building, what would you do?
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SWSinDC
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another factor we may not be considering is regional politics. Illinois legislators are likely very sensitive to the distribution of public funds between Chicago (and its suburbs, including Oak Park) and everywhere else in Illinois. They probably think giving money to restore an FLLW treasure in Springfield, the state capital, is less likely to raise an issue then sending tax dollars north to Chicago. I know from Michigan experience that Lansing hears a lot more complaints when public money is sent to Detroit rather than anywhere else in the state.
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rgrant
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dana is walking distance from the Governor's mansion ... even though that house is now on the market.
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Reidy



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How sure are we that Unity Temple is neglected? I don't have hard numbers, but they've done a lot of work in recent years restoring exterior concrete and interior colors, finishes and fixtures. It appears to be in much better shape than Taliesin, though comparisons are difficult because it's a much smaller property. Fallingwater probably did spend more money, but the building was in much more trouble.



Peter
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Unity Temple
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:27 pm    Post subject: Funding for Unity Temple Reply with quote

It's wonderful to see people asking questions about this.



In fact it is very difficult to raise funds to restore the building because it is a church. If people understood the whole story it might be easier.



It is not correct to say that Unity Temple Restoration Foundation can not receive government funding because of the separation of church and state. In fact we have received over one million in state and federal funding. We project the full restoration will cost between 12 - 15 million dollars.



The fact is the church is owned by two entities -- the congregation which is fundamentally the same client Mr. Wright designed and built the building for -- and he was a member of the congregation.



But there is also a secular control and ownership - the first ever preservation easement on the interior and exterior of a church. The easement is owned by the non-profit Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois.



There is very litle doubt in the minds of most Wright fans and scholars that Unity Temple is of extraordinary influence and significance.



As someone recently pointed out, in Mr. Wright's last recorded interview, at the Guggenheim, he said, "Unity Temple is my contribution to modern architecture".



But we face extraordinary challenges in fundraising because of perceptions. We spend an enormous amount of time trying to express our secular status.



I hope that Wright supporters understands three things:



1.) The building is in dire need of its first, comprehensive restoration in almost 100 years.



2.) Although the building is still used for its original purpose - as a church - it is also heavily used by the public and is open 363 days a year for tours, concerts, lectures, etc.



3.) Everyone can play a role in the restoration - even if it's just coming to visit and enjoy the masterpiece Unity Temple.



I really do appreciate your interest and support.



Sincerely,



Keith Bringe

Unity Temple Restoration Foundation

kbringe@utrf.org

708-383-8873
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Unity Temple
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:18 pm    Post subject: One More Thing: An Opportunity to Help on a Special Night Reply with quote

Join us for the best night of the year at Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple for the Restoration Gala on Saturday, May 6th featuring

a concert by Spider Salof

dinner, cocktails, an extraordinary silent auction and more.



The Gala benefits Unity Temple Restoration Foundation (UTRF).



Each year, the Foundation gives two awards. The Unity Award is given to an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to historic preservation in the region. Past recipients have been Mr. John Bryan, Mr. Richard Driehaus and Mr. Seymour Persky.



This year's Unity Award will be given to the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. The Award will be accepted by Conservancy Executive Director Ron Scherubel.



The Foundation also gives an award to an individual who has made a major contribution to the restoration of Unity Temple. The 2006 recipient of the UTRF Award is Mr. Jack Lesniak.



Call 708-383-8873 or email info@utrf.org for more information or to receive an invitation.
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