WINTER 2007                               water, land, life.

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Youths Discover Fallingwater with “Eyes Wide Open”

Fallingwater is a house like no other. Experiencing the Frank Lloyd Wright masterwork, seeing its location atop a waterfall and its many other engineering-defying achievements, can inspire the creative impulses in us all.

Imagine being a seventh grader who is seeing Fallingwater for the first time – and is given the charge to photograph the experience for an exhibition that will ultimately visit three states and extend out of the country.

Seventeen seventh and eighth graders, six of whom are students from schools in Fayette County, received this opportunity. They were trained and given a professional camera, then asked to explore and photograph Fallingwater.

The project is a collaboration with Fallingwater, Unity Temple, the Westcott House Foundation, and “Eyes Wide Open Worldwide,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring youths to develop a passion for the arts and foster their creativity through photography. The organization strives to help young adults develop a deeper passion for the arts, increase their confidence and feel a sense of accomplishment.

“This project was exciting for us, not only because we partnered with other Wright sites, but perhaps most importantly, we got to work more closely with some local kids, only one of whom had visited Fallingwater before,” said Cara Armstrong, Fallingwater’s Curator of Education.” It was pretty enthralling to see the students discover Fallingwater for themselves and for them to realize
that they have something so cool in their own backyard. They were on-site a little more than three days, and the Fallingwater staff really got to know them...they felt a part of the place.”

The exhibition is called, “The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright Through the Eyes of a Child,” and opened this year in Oak Park, Ill. at Wright’s Unity Temple. Beginning on March 1, 2008 through May 18, 2008, the exhibition will be displayed at The Barn at Fallingwater where it will be displayed through May 18.

The exhibition then moves to Springfield, Ohio and finally to the Toronto Photography Festival, considered the largest photography event in the world.

Dr. Stephen Lai, whose photography was exhibited earlier this year at the Barn at Fallingwater, visited Fallingwater to meet and instruct the young participants in photography. Like Ty Fischer, the founder and director of Eyes Wide Open Worldwide, Lai talked with them as fellow artists and they responded with enthusiasm.

“I think that shows up in their photographs,” Armstrong said. “We’re not the only ones that feel this project is special: — Iit received an American Architectural Foundation Award of National Distinction as one of top 42 programs in the country for Best Practices in Architectural Education.”

For more information on the exhibition, contact Cara Armstrong at

Students experience and interpret Fallingwater.