Spending My Summer the Wright Way

Jul 25, 2019

by Annabel Leonova '20
Marketing Specialist

This summer I and four other FSC students got an awesome opportunity to participate in the Polk Museum of Art Internship Program. While three of us worked at the museum, I and another intern spent six weeks working at the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center.

Annabel '20 (left) and her supervisor Victoria King (right).
Annabel '20 (left) and her supervisor Victoria King (right).

In case you didn’t know, Florida Southern houses 13 structures designed by famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright ⁠— earning the College the honor to have the largest collection of his works on one site. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

Because of that, FLW Visitor Center offers a variety of tours through which you can learn more about the buildings and the history behind them. For example, the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel was the campus' first constructed FLW building and is designed to be non-denominational, for people of all beliefs to worship in. Another fun fact: these tours are free to FSC student, alumni, faculty and staff in case you haven’t had a chance to take one yet.

One of these tours takes you through the Usonian Faculty House, which I had the privilege to lead. Through my practice runs, I gained knowledge on its design and the man behind the blueprints. Did you know? A unique quirk about FLLW is that he appreciated a controlled ambiance, so a lot of the furniture in the Usonian House (and other structures) is built in and immovable! 

Working with and getting to know my colleagues was one of the most valuable takeaways. I was deeply inspired by my supervisor Victoria King, the director of the tourism and education center. She's fun to be around and definitely made sure we learned as much as possible during these six weeks of internship. She instilled a sense of teamwork and appreciation for history of American modern architecture.

Additionally, the Center has many part-time tour guides and volunteers with different shifts and schedules, so I got to work with a new group of people each time I came in to work. Because every guide runs their tour a bit differently, I enjoyed seeing different versions of the same excursion.

Colored glass inside of the Usonian house.
Colored glass inside of the Usonian house.

Everyone I worked with had so much knowledge to share — whether it was about the life and times of Mr. Wright or the college's history. Conversations were never dull and my days were never boring. It’s incredible when people around you are passionate about what they are doing.

Another inspiring aspect of this internship was the ability to work closely with McKay Archives. Our goal was to create a history-based FLW display in the Hollis room. In order to do so, we went through so many old pictures. These pictures documented how the campus used to look like back in 1930’s and how it slowly changed since, becoming bigger and more beautiful.

This internship completely changed my perception of the FSC campus. I always loved being here and enjoyed the campus’ beauty. But knowing history about how FSC became what it is today makes being here even more special. It’s a whole new perspective. #gomocs