Heloise Crista, acclaimed sculptor and Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice, passes away

Acclaimed sculptor and Frank Lloyd Wright Apprentice Heloise Crista. (Photo courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation)

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is announcing the loss of Heloise Crista, who passed away on March 11, 2018, at her home at Taliesin West in Scottsdale.

Heloise was born in Kobe, Japan on March 9, 1926. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California.

Ms. Crista joined the Taliesin Fellowship in 1949, not to become an architect, but rather to be in “the atmosphere of such ideas and such people as Mr. and Mrs. Wright and the community of apprentices.”

A view of a sculpture by Ms. Crista on display at Taliesin West in north Scottsdale. (Photo courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation)

While at Taliesin, she studied dance under the Wrights’ daughter, Iovanna, and was a respected and extremely talented performer. In addition to dance, Ms. Crista specialized in making highly-decorated and intricate costumes and sets for the performances, known then as “movement performances.” Her performances and creations were influenced by her study of the philosophy of Russian mystic George Gurdjieff, which she continued throughout her life.

“We remember Heloise as a caring mother, a loving friend, and a consummate artist,” said architect Vernon D. Swaback, a fellow Wright apprentice. “For all whose lives she touched, each in our own way, she blesses us still.”

Over time, however, Ms. Crista became known for her sculpture, an interest sparked at Taliesin.

Her first major work was a bronze bust of Wright, in 1956, which remains on display in the Garden Room at Taliesin West. Her sculptures have been incorporated throughout the campus at Taliesin West — where they continue to inspire visitors — and structures designed by the Taliesin Associated Architects, the architecture firm created by apprentices of Mr. Wright, following his passing.

“We cherish the magic that Heloise’s work and creativity has brought, and will continue to bring to our community,” said Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation President and CEO Stuart Graff. “Her spirit will live on through her sculptures, which have become an indelible part of the Taliesin West experience.”

Acclaimed sculptor and Frank Lloyd Wright Apprentice Heloise Crista. (Photo courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation)

The Scottsdale Independent publishes a free daily newsletter. A print edition is mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses each month. If you value our journalistic mission, please consider showing us your support.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable. Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the arrow in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment