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November 7th, 2019

History surrounds us, each and every day. But what does it teach us? How do we use the past to guide our future? That was the common theme at the 2019 National Trust for Historic Preservation PastForward Conference in Denver, Colorado.

On October 11th, I was humbled to share the stage with numerous highly respected individuals dedicated to preserving our nation’s historic sites and landmarks. And Taliesin Preservation proudly received the Trustee Emeritus award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for its excellence in preservation, management and programming. Apollo Mission Control, Historic Denver, Inc., Unity Temple and the lifelong advocate for social progress, Ruth J. Abram, also accepted awards that evening.

Reflecting on the theme of this year’s conference, we find ourselves continually asking that same question, “How do we use the past to guide our future?” Our staff and board members are committed to soliciting input from donors, visitors and community partners to evolve our answers for a better shared future.

We find ourselves at a pivotal point in this world. Where cost and convenience tends to beat out quality. Where it’s easier to place a one-day shipping order than to make a product ourselves—or understand the true value in handcrafted artistry. Where it is more second-nature to search the web than to read a book or write in a journal. Where erasing history is easier than learning from it.

Taliesin lives on as a vision of Frank Lloyd Wright. A place and an idea; transposed from history to the present. The power of place is manifest in our actions—building a laboratory for living and convening a community—all for the betterment of a shared future that transcends time. And our team embraces all entry points to creative endeavors. We strive through our public programming to tell the whole story of Taliesin through each one of those entry points. Knowing that, just as Wright planned, it is the integration of all these points, which make the whole.

We have just wrapped up our second year of the Food Artisan Immersion Program. Built on Wright’s apprenticeship model, FAIP is a vision of a healthy environment that seeks to integrate architecture, art, food, farm, community, and the land. Participants complete the program more knowledgeable about sustainable and locally sourced food; the route between seed to compost; artisanal culinary skills; and gardening practices. Our students are learning the true ‘taste of place‘ by coming to appreciate the value of the farm; the value of our soil; the value of our collective communities.

Each and every one of us represents Taliesin. The estate is about not only embracing the past, but imagining and celebrating collaborative missions for ourselves, our communities, and our world. So whether it’s through architecture, the land, the arts, education, nature or farming, this is a place to experience, explore and expressing—in an integrated way—our own perspectives and questions such as“How could we live now?”

Taliesin was never meant to be a place where you look back. It’s about looking forward. To the possibilities; to what is yet to come. The best way to preserve a building is to use it, thus the best reason to restore a building is to ensure it will be used. We are continually inspired by our guests, supporters, and friends. And we remain here for YOU. Join us to bring the past forward for future generations. —Written by Carrie Rodamaker, Executive Director of Taliesin Preservation. Photos courtesy of National Trust For Historic Preservation.