Genius of Frank Lloyd Wright tempered by his antisemitism

Once again, Professor Paul Krainak has shown why he is recognized as our foremost authority on the history, value, influence and cultural significance of American inland art and artists. His informative and provocative column on Frank Lloyd Wright (Community Word, July issue) is a fitting tribute, reminder and lesson on the extraordinary significance of the most famous of modern architects. In his inimitable style, Krainak explains why Wright, as an inland artist, is and continues to be the Midwestern icon and apostle of the prime architectural directive to create the convergence of geography, structure and living in a seamless continuum.

In the mid-70s, I had the experience of actually living for a month in a Frank Lloyd Wright house in West Hollywood that was owned at the time by the legendary Hollywood super-agent, Hal Gefsky. Wright built the house for his granddaughter, Broadway and screen star Anne Baxter. It was, indeed, a beautiful convergence built of native materials in which interior surfaces curved seamlessly into exterior walls, designed landscape and the natural topography of the Hollywood foothills. The experience of living in the daily embrace of Wright’s architectural genius was awesome in the truest sense of the word.

At the same time, the sense of exaltation and appreciation was tempered by the knowledge that Wright, like other geniuses of his time (e.g. Richard Wagner, Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh) was afflicted with a strain of virulent antisemitism that he expressed publicly and privately.  Such contradictions of complex character are exactly the dilemmas that are best contemplated and explained by the leading scholars and chroniclers of our age, art, and geography—scholars like Paul Krainak.

Jeffrey Huberman, Peoria

Union’s project helps student needs

726 and counting!  That is the number of children and families served by the Round Table Project during the 2016-2017 school year. Thank you Community Word for mentioning the Round Table Project in your July edition.

The Round Table Project is the brainchild of the Peoria Federation of Support Staff, Local 6099. Created and run solely by Local 6099, this food and hygiene pantry that began at Richwoods High School and Franklin Primary School in August of 2016 has grown to 16 district schools.

Local 6099 believes that their members’ roles in the Peoria Public Schools gives them a unique insight into the needs of students. Teacher assistants, sign language interpreters, secretaries, cafeteria workers, physical therapy assistants and library managers often get to know their students in ways that the classroom teachers do not; indeed, many students will share information with school staff that they won’t share with their teacher or classmates. To receive a needed item from the Round Table, a student simply needs to request one from school staff.

The Union partnered with the District 150 Foundation to help coordinate any monetary donations and provide a vehicle for a tax deductible charitable donation. The Labor Council, many churches and a few businesses have helped as well. Local 6099 is very grateful. Anyone wishing to donate to the Round Table Project can do so at 733 SW Washington St., the office of the Illinois Federation of Teachers or at Peoria Public Schools Administration Building, 3202 N. Wisconsin.

The creation of the Round Table Project has had a positive effect on the lives of students as well as involved union members.  The coordinator, Terri Berg, said, “Our members are becoming more and more involved with the union, and getting the community involved has helped us develop strong relationships. We know that working together, we are making a difference in this community. That’s a win for us all.”

Lisa Uphoff, Field Service Director, Illinois Federation of Teachers

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