Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, The Opportunity Tree partner to construct desert pieces

The Opportunity Tree has partnered with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to create one-of-a-kind candle blocks inspired by desert masonry techniques. (Submitted photo)

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation announced a partnership with disability advocacy group The Opportunity Tree to have its members, who are developmentally disabled adults, create one-of-a-kind candle blocks inspired by desert masonry techniques Frank Lloyd Wright pioneered himself.

The Opportunity Tree, formerly known as the Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped, is an organization committed to promoting the development of a society that embraces individuals with developmental disabilities through inclusion and advocacy opportunities.

The foundation and the organization hope to promote inclusion at Taliesin West through their partnership, according to a press release.

“Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio has always been a place of inclusion — a place where people could explore their talents and creativity regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, faith, or otherwise,” Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, said in a prepared statement.

“Through this partnership with The Opportunity Tree, we’re able to advance our mission of enabling everyone to contribute to our community by realizing their potential.”

Desert masonry is a technique of building that involves sourcing sand and stones from the surrounding desert, a method that was used to create Mr. Wright’s famous winter home, Taliesin West. The candle blocks were originally created by a former student of the School of Architecture at Taliesin’s Immersion Program and then modified to allow production on a larger scale.

(Submitted photo)

The Opportunity Tree members were invited to Taliesin West in September 2018 to become familiar with the site, learn more about desert masonry and to explore the environment’s materials. They then learned how to make the candle blocks at their campus in Phoenix, the press release stated.

The blocks retail for $80 each and the production, as well as the proceeds from the sale of the blocks, contribute to both the foundation’s preservation of Taliesin and Taliesin West and The Opportunity Tree’s efforts of providing developmentally disabled adults with vocational opportunities.

“Many employment opportunities that have previously been available to people with intellectual or developmental disabilities have not been in the creative field and have focused more on repetitive tasks, such as sorting and stocking,” said Taylor Buttrey, The Opportunity Tree’s creative arts program manager, in a prepared statement. “To be able to offer our members the unique opportunity to express more of their creativity, especially with such an iconic organization is really exciting.”

To purchase, visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Store at Taliesin West, 12345 N. Taliesin Drive, Scottsdale, or call 480-627-5398 to place an order. Limited quantities are available.

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