Message from the CEO
Michael Miner, CEO
My wife Carol and I are, by nature, reformers. We don’t blindly accept the status quo, don’t believe in the phrase “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”, and we are not content to sit idly by as the world falls apart and proclaim “I don’t want to get involved, it’s someone else’s problem”. Pointing out a problem is the only way to begin the process of fixing it.
For those who would defend that status quo, I would simply ask one question, “How’s that working out for you”? The world is in quite possibly the worst shape it’s ever been, and if we are to actually fix it, apathy is no longer an option. There are those, the internet armchair quarterbacks (whom I hear from every day), who consistently criticize, and complain about issues with which they are not fully informed, who offer no solution, and who are not willing to lift a finger to remediate the difficulties. All talk, no action. I genuinely have no time for that sort of person anymore. My new motto has become, “If you are not willing to work towards solving the problem about which you are complaining, I don’t want to hear your opinion”.
Among a million others, the non-profit industry (and believe me, it IS an industry) is such a thing that needs reform, and needs it badly. Not just the conservation/preservation/restoration industries, but all non-profits. As they grow, and perhaps because they feel that they are competing for the same money, virtually every non-profit organization I can think of seems to lose sight of its original well-meaning cause, and evolves instead into a behemoth money generating machine. An example: just after incorporating the FLWRI, we were inundated with ads for seminars offering advice on how to increase our fundraising results, but curiously, not one which proposed in helping us do our jobs better.
Yes, we want to disrupt, not for the sake of disrupting, but in order to make positive change. This is why we formed the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative a few years back. Like so many others, we wanted to make a difference, and the world a better place. And we refuse to accept the working models of others as our own.
The first mandate of the FLWRI was to rebuild lost Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings. We worked for two plus years on the Banff Pavilion project, and after spending more than $40,000 of our own money (NOT that of the FLWRI), finally hit an impasse with the town of Banff. However, things changed when the Wright designed Lockridge Clinic was demolished in 2018 due to incompetent oversight by the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy. I was furious. We realized that even if we were to rebuild those demolished Wright structures, if we continue to lose buildings at the same pace, there is no movement forward. When asked why I changed the focus of our organization, and am now pursuing the saving of Wright buildings, I answered “because it needs doing, and it’s not being done.” To clarify for those who misunderstood, I was referring to the larger organizations such as the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, not to the many smaller organizations set up to care for individual buildings, most of whom do an excellent job of administering their sites. Also, I was not referring to the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, who although have been hit with controversies the last few years, at least continue to properly maintain those buildings which are under their care.
For most of the last 20 years, I have devoted my filmmaking career to making films on Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, screening the films and lecturing at universities, AIA venues, and Frank Lloyd Wright public buildings across the country, aiming to spread the Wright gospel as best I can. Since the formation of the FLWRI, and the recent modification of its mandate, my wife and I have been devoting 100% of our time assisting Wright building owners and saving Wright buildings.
One of the first radical steps we took in this effort was the purchase of the endangered Pappas House in 2020. Next up, we are attempting to procure another endangered Frank Lloyd Wright home through our non-profit, with the guarantee that whatever offer we make will include a guarantee that we bring the house to pristine Frank Lloyd Wright standards before placing a preservation easement on it, thereby ensuring its survival. Our only aim now is to protect Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, by whatever means possible.
Now I want to make a prediction. Watch over the next coming months and years to see which of two things happen. See if we adapt our behaviour to follow the models of other similar organizations, or if they adapt their behaviour to follow ours. I predict that the latter will occur. Finally, instead of me blathering on, go to our “What Makes Us Different” page by clicking here for further explanation of both our accomplishments, and our future plans.
Thanking you for your support,
CEO Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative
The Frank Lloyd Wright designed Pappas House, located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, is now open for tours.
Tickets are $25 each and masks are required. To arrange a tour, please call 817-917-1733.