"We share Beverley Taylor Sorenson's vision of improving the quality of life for Utah's young people by providing each one with the best possible arts education. We are honored that our efforts will continue Beverley Sorenson's work and carry her name."
- Raymond Tymas-Jones, Associate Vice President for the Arts
and Dean of the College of Fine Arts
The College of Education and the College of Fine Arts are two nationally recognized academic units within the University of Utah. Four of the College of Education's departments and three of the College of Fine Arts' departments are ranked in the top 20 programs in the nation.
The two colleges embarked on a unique and unprecedented collaboration when the Sorenson Legacy Foundation gave $12 million for construction of the new Complex, which will be complete in late 2013. The new Complex will be a national source of scholarship and applied research knowledge on evidence-based arts integration instruction, delivery, and community partnership.
Arts integration has a long history in Utah and the gift from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation represents the significant community and state support for our initiative. In 1994, Beverley Taylor Sorenson founded art works for kids!, a pilot arts education program for elementary schools. Over the past 14 years, she has donated millions to grow the program, reaching over 80,000 children, securing legislative funding, and making the program a statewide phenomenon.
In early 2008, the Utah Legislature recognized Beverley Taylor Sorenson's work by allocating $15.8 million to fund the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Elementary Arts Learning Program, which is being used to hire arts specialists to work side-by-side with classroom teachers in 59 selected elementary and charter schools. It also funds District Arts Coordinator salaries, professional development, the purchase of arts equipment and supplies, and research and evaluation activities. Eventually, the program aims to extend arts integration to all of Utah's 508 elementary schools and will provide a model that can be replicated across the country.
The Arts and Education Complex at the University of Utah will support five main activities: academic research; interdisciplinary pre-service teacher and arts specialist training; professional development for teachers and education leaders; programming for schools, youth and families; and community involvement and leadership. The Complex facility is being designed to foster creative relationships between these activities and the people involved in them.