GOFF FEST launches its inaugural weekend November 4–7 in Tulsa to celebrate the life and work of Oklahoma’s unconventional architect, Bruce Goff, whose organic and eccentric designs include Tulsa’s Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, the Tulsa Club Hotel and Riverside Studio, better known as the Spotlight Theatre.
With the support of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, the festival was created from the vision of artist Karl Jones who felt Goff’s work was underappreciated and hoped “to share an interest in Bruce Goff’s story with a wider regional and national audience.” Organized by the Goff Center of the Continuous Present (GCCP), the festival will be held in various venues throughout downtown Tulsa and will feature tours of Goff buildings, film screenings, panel discussions, exhibitions, a fundraising event, puppet shows, a kid-friendly family festival with food and beer trucks, live art, and a Goff Ball.
Goff, who passed in 1982, lived a life charged with unabashed creativity while also being shrouded in controversy. Having grown up in Tulsa, his work in architecture began at the young age of twelve when he apprenticed for the architectural firm, Rush, Endacott and Rush. Goff’s philosophy embraced the individual, the mysterious and the “continuous present”–a term coined by Gertrude Stein that he often used to describe his design style where the past and present merge into a continuous stream without beginning nor ends. Mentored by Frank Lloyd Wright during his early years, Goff was one of the rare architects he admired for his creativity and independent ethos.
Goff’s contentious exit from the University of Oklahoma, where he taught and served as the Chairman for the School of Architecture, and the on-going debate of the design ownership of the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church were filled with whispers of unacceptance for Goff’s eclectic designs and homosexuality in the conservative backdrop of mid-century Oklahoma. Even fifteen years after Goff’s death, Goff’s masterpiece design, Shin’en Kan, was destroyed from intentional arson. Today, a group of Goff advocates aim to change the discourse, to open dialogues of truth and celebrate the life and work of America’s best unknown organic architect. The newly formed GCCP begins this public discussion with the introduction of the inaugural Goff Fest this November.