Art Excursions, Inc.



Taliesin -- The Frank Lloyd Wright home in Spring Green, Wisconsin

In 1911, Wright designed a home for himself and Mamah Borthwick on property settled by his ancestors who immigrated from Wales. “Taliesin” -- meaning “shining brow” in Welsh -- is Wright’s name for his home and his 800-acre estate. Built, re-built, renovated and expanded between 1911 and 1925, the home demonstrates Wright’s philosophy of “organic architecture” and directly inspired many of his projects across the United States. Its many wings and cantilevered terraces reach out around the ridge of the hill offering stunning views of thel surrounding landscape. 

Enjoy a private guided tour of the Taliesin home as well as commentary about Wright from tour director Jeff Mishur while en route to Spring Green.

The Milwaukee Art Museum and its Quadracci Pavilion designed by Santiago Calatrava

In 1957, Eero Saarinen’s lakefront mid-century masterpiece “The War Memorial Center” became home to The Milwaukee Art Center (now Museum), the result of a merger of two art institutions rooted in the nineteenth century.

Museum galleries offer breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and display an encyclopedic collection with special concentrations in: Georgia O’Keeffe (the fourth largest collection of the Wisconsin-native’s work), Folk Art, The Studio Glass Movement including works by Dale Chihuly’s Wisconsin professor Harvey Littleton, and Modern and contemporary art.

Called a “Wonder of the World” by Condé Nast Traveler, Santiago Calatrava’s 2001 addition to museum (pictured above) may be America’s best example of destination architecture -- as much a symbol of a city’s cultural identify as Bilbao’s Guggenheim or Sydney’s Opera House. The organic shapes of the Quadracci Pavilion that recall aquatic creatures and naval architecture provide space for special exhibitions and an installation of sculpture set against the backdrop of Lake Michigan. A kinetic sculpture crowns a soaring atrium; its louvers open (as seen above) and close slowly and gracefully suggesting the entire structure is capable of taking flight over the lake.

Art historian Jeff Mishur will provide a private tour of museum highlights.

You’re invited to step inside TWO privately-owned Wright-designed homes for exclusive tours

While researching and planning this tour, we had the opportunity to make contact with the owners of two distinct Wright-designed single family residences. Both owners graciously agreed to open their homes to our group for private tours. We are thrilled to be able to include these exclusive experiences in our tour itinerary.

Dale Chiihuly, Harvey Littleton and the birth of the American Studio Glass Movement in Madison, Wisconsin

There are three important cities in the story of Dale Chihuly and the American Studio Glass Movement: Seattle, Washington; Murano, Italy; and Madison, Wisconsin. Madison earns a place in the story because of one man: Harvey Littleton. No studio glass movement in the United States existed before Littleton. Instead, all American glass came from large factory furnaces. Littleton pioneered the use of a small furnace that could be operated within an artist’s personal studio. Because of Littleton, glassblowing and other glass processes could be done in the artist’s studio along with painting, ceramics, fiber and sculpture.

More importantly, Littleton started the first ever collegiate glassblowing program at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dale Chihuly came to Madison to study under Littleton as a graduate student. Eventually, Chihuly and other former Littleton students helped promote programs in glass at other universities across the United States.

In 1997, Chihuly installed “Mendota Wall” (pictured above) in Madison. The remarkable glass sculpture spans 120 feet--making it one of the world’s largest installations of studio glass. The 1,284 pieces of blown glass in radiant colors pay homage to the artist’s memories of sunshine bouncing off the waves of Madison’s Lake Mendota. We’ll enjoy a private tour of “Mendota Wall.”

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hillside Home School II -- the Taliesin Fellowship campus

Wright designed “Hillside II” in 1901 for two aunts who ran a day and boarding school for children. The Hillside Home School II served the surrounding community until its closure in 1915, after which Wright himself acquired the property.

In 1932, Wright began expanding and renovating the complex to suit his newly established Taliesin Fellowship program. For example, he and his apprentices converted an old gymnasium into a theater and added a large drafting room and a dormitory. On a private tour learn how this structure exemplifies organic architecture at a very early stage in Wright’s career.

“Life, Love & Marriage in Renaissance Italy” a special exhibition at The Chazen Museum of Art

The Chazen Museum of Art in Madison exhibits art from various eras and cultures in its permanent collection galleries. European artists represented in the museum include Miró, Rodin, Dali, Vasari, and Magritte. American artists represented include Rothko, Warhol, Grandma Moses, and Calder.

During our tour, the museum hosts a special exhibition of elaborately carved and painted Italian wedding chests, also known as cassoni. To explore the social and practical functions of these important objects, the exhibition includes Italian paintings along with maiolica wares, fabric, and architectural decorations made between the 14th and 16th centuries.

Monona Terrace -- a Frank Lloyd Wright project nearly 60 years in the making

Frank Lloyd Wright routinely attracted controversy. However, his Monona Terrace project retained its controversial status for decades after his death. Wright first designed this mixed-use complex in 1938. Unfortunately, the project failed to receive county support due to a single deciding vote. World War II delayed attempts to reboot the project. Nevertheless, Wright continued to push for his vision up until his death in 1959. Finally in 1992 the project received support via referendum; five years later Monona Terrace opened its doors.

We’ll enjoy a private tour of Wright’s signature interior spaces along with terrace views of the Wisconsin state capital building and gorgeous Lake Monona.

The American System Built Home -- the Wright approach to affordable housing

Before the Usonian models, Wright first applied his concept of a modern, aesthetically pleasing and affordable home to the so-called “American System Built Homes,” a joint venture between him and a local developer. He called for pre-cutting the lumber and other materials in a mill or factory before delivery to the building site. This “system” would save material waste and reduce labor costs. Six examples of these homes were constructed on a single block in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

This row of six homes is unique in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Whereas renovations are ongoing at five out of the the six residences, the “model B1” home has been fully restored and serves as the focal point of our private tour.

Accommodations in Madison, Wisconsin

Art Excursions understands that our choice of accommodations contributes to the overall experience of the boutique tours we design and lead. Consequently, our clients have come to expect a high standard of hotel as well as a location that is ideal for easy access to shops, galleries, museums, restaurants, theaters and concert venues.

For this tour, we have selected a three star property in the Madison, Wisconsin area. Aside from serving as Wisconsin’s capital, Madison is a unique cultural experience in the Midwest. The international base of students and faculty at the university support several performing arts venues, an extensive and eclectic collection of shops and restaurants, and a system of parks that enhance its scenic location on an isthmus between lakes Mendota and Monona

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a Big Ten school whose former students include Frank Lloyd Wright, Dale Chihuly and of course Dr. Michelle Mishur, co-owner of Art Excursions. Home to Bucky Badger (celebrity mascot), the university boasts a campus with multiple performance spaces, great museums, and a historic lakefront terrace with dining and entertainment.

Tour study leader and host -- art historian Jeff Mishur

Art historian Jeff Mishur, co-owner of Art Excursions, hosts this tour. Jeff is a sought-after guide for private tours of architecture, public sculpture and museum collections. He is also a very popular lecturer on art and architecture. Jeff is pleased to offer as part of this itinerary a guided tour of highlights of The Milwaukee Art Museum as well as his commentary on Frank Lloyd Wright and Dale Chihuly, subjects of two of his most popular lectures.


  1. Three nights accommodations (King bed rooms are studio suites)

  2. Admissions and private tours as highlighted above and detailed in a fully guided four day itinerary

  3. Commentaries on various venues provided by art historian and tour host Jeff Mishur

  4. Milwaukee Art Museum private highlights tour by art historian Jeff Mishur

  5. A welcome dinner on Sunday night with a complimentary glass or wine or beer

  6. Wine hour on Monday and Tuesday night

  7. Lunch daily

  8. Daily breakfast

  9. Independent time to take in what you like at each event on the itinerary

  10. Opportunity to add on nights at a special rate

  11. Transportation to/from itinerary elements that are not within walking distance of our hotel

  12. Driver gratuities

  13. Tour design, planning, hosting, commentaries and handouts provided by Art Excursions


Gratuities for tour guides and hotel staff; incidentals at hotel; costs for items not specified above; Airfare and airport transfers. We can book airfare on your behalf if you prefer not to make your own arrangements.  We do charge a $45 per ticket booking fee for this service.


$1,695 per person in a studio suite with 1 king bed (based on double occupancy)

$1,715 per person in a room with 2 queen beds (based on double occupancy)

$250 single supplement


Our boutique tours are ideal for single travelers, singles traveling together, or couples. We typically have a mix of these types of travelers. If you wish to know why we charge a single supplement or have any other questions, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or email us.


Group size is limited. Reservations accepted first-come, first-served. For more details please email artexcursions@yahoo.com or call 630/671-9745.


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Taliesin and Beyond: In the Footsteps of Frank Lloyd Wright -- October 21-24, 2018

Also featuring interior tours of two privately-owned Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes PLUS The Milwaukee Art Museum and its Santiago Calatrava addition

P.O. Box 92, Riverside, IL 60546 • 630.671.9745 • artexcursions@yahoo.comwww.artexcursions.com

© Art Excursions, Inc. 2016. All rights reserved.