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Jeffrey Herr

Los Angeles, California

You could say that Jeffrey Herr’s first encounter with a Frank Lloyd Wright building made a lasting impact. When his professor in a modern art class suggested Wright’s Hollyhock House would make a good paper topic, Herr visited the Los Angeles house and interviewed its then-curator, Virginia Kazor. “I guess the rest is history,” says Herr, who has worked at Hollyhock House since 2005. Author of the property’s National Historic Landmark nomination (designated 2007), he manages the interpretation of Hollyhock House, conducts research and recently directed a four-year restoration, reopening it to the public in 2015. Born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, Herr trained in decorative arts (“A Wright house is perhaps the largest decorative art object one can find”) then “did the Hollywood thing, which obviously didn’t work out all that well.” He went to work in the savings and loan industry before returning to graduate school to study art history. “Before assuming my role at Hollyhock House I curated art exhibitions and restored a 1850 Victorian Mansion (Banning Residence),” says Herr. “I’m approaching the quarter century mark working for the City of Los Angeles.”

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Jeffrey Levine

Chicago, IL

Born in Buffalo, New York, Jeffrey Levine’s first experience of Wright’s architecture came as a child through a computer-based virtual tour of Wright’s Larkin Building at the Buffalo Historical Society. Even at an early age, knowing the groundbreaking building had been demolished left quite an impact. “I hated the idea that it was torn down and the land isn’t being used for anything,” he says. After studying literature and sociology, Levine joined the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy in 2010 as communications and events manager. He directed numerous Wright events before moving on in 2014 but remains a Conservancy member. “I’ve long been fascinated with both the material design of Wright’s work as well as his vision for reshaping the way people lived in his houses. Broadacre City remains one of the foundational ways that I think about urban planning and society. Architecture is much more than just the building; it’s shaping how we function in that space. If nothing else, I’m really interested in going through as many spaces as I can and seeing all the possibilities that exist.”

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Jack Quinan

Boulder, Colorado

One of the founders of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, Jack Quinan was born in Somerville, Massachusetts to a “frustrated architect” mother who moved the family to eight different houses in Keene, New Hampshire, over 15 years. “We built three houses from plans that she selected and modified,” Jack says, “and one, a ranch house, was featured in New Hampshire Profiles magazine.” Jack was an art and art history major at Dartmouth College and earned a PhD at Brown University with a concentration in architectural history. Over a long academic career he taught mostly at SUNY Buffalo and also at Cornell and the University of Rhode Island. Architecture has always been a big part of Jack’s leisure time as well. “Traveling to see cities and buildings is endlessly pleasurable,” he says. “For some reason I grew up fascinated by Native American culture and had to decide in 1967 whether to attend the University of Arizona to focus on that or to Brown for art history. In high school I subscribed to Arizona Highways in which one or two issues carried articles on Taliesin West. I still have them.”

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Dan Nichols

Cherry Hill, New Jersey

A registered architect and the owner and restorer of the Wright-designed J.A. Sweeton House (1950) with his wife Christine Denario, Dan Nichols was raised in “the most banal raised ranch box ever to come from the pencil of a builder on a donut shop napkin,” but seeing Wright’s Dudley Spencer House (1956) in Wilmington, Delaware—as well as his parents’ encouragement to see out great buildings—had a profound influence on him. “The house was along my parents’ route to a Sears store in Wilmington, Delaware. I can remember being of elementary school age and always looking for that house during the drive, as I thought it was the greatest house I’d ever seen,” says Dan. “It was even before I knew who Wright was.”

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Kay Conner

West Lafayette, Indiana

A Conservancy member since 2007, Kay Conner was born in Palo Alto, California, and grew up in an ordinary tract home near the Joseph Eichler-designed community Greenridge. “I didn’t know that Joseph Eichler had been inspired by Wright,” Conner says, “but I knew I loved the houses and wished we could live there.” After visiting the Marin County Civic Center and V.C. Morris Gift Shop in the 1960s with her Wright-admiring mother, Conner didn’t see another Wright-designed building until 1980, when she moved to Indiana to complete her graduate degree in chemistry at Purdue University and first visited Samara, the John and Catherine Christian House (1954). While working in the chemistry department at Purdue advising chemistry majors, teaching freshmen and running programs to encourage girls to pursue math/science careers, and in addition to organizing West Lafayette’s annual art fair and garden walk and volunteering at the local art museum and nature center, Conner has been an important volunteer at Samara.

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