The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has appointed curator and architecture critic Aaron Betsky as the new dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Betsky will be charged with raising funds for the embattled institution, which must transform into an autonomous subsidiary of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to keep its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Betsky is a well-known critic and author who studied architecture at Yale University. (His column currently appears in Architect magazine.) He most recently served as the director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, and has also previously directed the Venice Architecture Biennale. From 2001 to 2006, he was director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam.
The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture offers a master’s degree in architecture on two campuses located on the estates of Frank Lloyd Wright: Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. The program was founded by the renowned architect in 1932 to provide students with hands-on, immersive architecture experience. In 2012, the nonprofit Higher Learning Commission changed its bylaws to prohibit schools from being part of a larger, non-academic institution, putting the Frank Lloyd Wright School on notice of losing its accreditation by 2017 if it does not separate from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which owns and operates the school.
Major challenges await Betsky in his new role: Significant financial support will be necessary to make the change from foundation subsidiary to autonomous institution. The school announced in December that it would seek to raise $2 million by the end of 2015, with a goal of reaching $1 million in donations by March 27.