We rarely leave Scottsdale without visiting a small park at the northern end of the Promenade shopping complex. The site is anchored by a spire that was part of Frank Lloyd Wright’s design proposal for the Arizona State Capitol. His design was not accepted but in 2004 the spire was finally realized.
But this post isn’t about Frank. It’s about Heloise Crista, a Taliesin Fellow who joined the group as a recent graduate of the UCLA Dance program in 1949.
Ms. Crista discovered her talent as a sculptor in the Fifties when she created her first piece, a bronze bust of Lloyd Wright. When he saw the work, Frank encouraged her to devote herself to sculpture.
Mary Anne and I met Ms. Crista during our first visit to Taliesin West in 2009. If people really do have shining auras, she certainly had one. Looking at least two decades younger than her 83 years, Heloise was a radiant presence: grounded, pleasant, intelligent, thoughtful.
We spent an hour and a half together talking about her work (there’s a collection on the grounds at Taliesin West) and a little about living and working with Lloyd Wright. “I find it odd to hear people talking about Mr. Wright who never knew him”, she said.
We bought a small version of her piece The Guardian, which greets visitors in the entrance to our home in Seattle.
But back to the park in Scottsdale. I find it amazing is that this collection of Ms. Crista’s work survives. Each piece is worth five figures. How are they not stolen? Perhaps the Goddess is watching.