Beverley Taylor Sorenson, who passed away May 27, 2013, developed a rich legacy of love and support for arts education in Utah. She was instrumental in reinvigorating elementary arts education at institutions of higher education that prepare classroom teachers and teaching artists to teach the arts. Her work with area schools helped develop a renewed effort to ensure Utah children have a complete education that includes sequential K-6 arts education.
Beverley Taylor Sorenson always held the child first and foremost in her drive to bring dance, music, drama and visual arts into the classroom. Through her persistence, she persuaded the Utah State Legislature in 2008 to fund a $16 million, four-year initiative to hire fifty arts specialists to work side by side with teachers in the elementary classrooms. Beverley has said,"Together we have faced many obstacles and seen many triumphs. Through it all one thing has continued to inspire us: doing what is right for our children."
Beverley's passion for the arts began with music as a child. She recalled, "We had a piano, in our home and mom saw to it that we all practiced." Her older sisters, Helen and Virginia, were very talented and taught Beverley to play. While living in New York City as a young lady, Beverley took piano lessons from a concert pianist. In December 1945, while in New York City, she met the love of her life, James LeVoy Sorenson. Three dates later, he asked Beverley to marry him. They both loved young people, and together they found incredible joy in their eight children, grandchildren, and great grand children. In January 2008, James Sorenson passed away, having left a legacy of philanthropic public service.
Beverley Sorenson, a model of strength and energy, was more devoted than ever to bring arts education into every school in Utah. In Philadelphia, July 2008, the nation's governors honored Beverley Taylor Sorenson as one of eight people recognized nationally for their public service. At the ceremony, Governor Jon Huntsman called the Sorensons, "perhaps the most generous family in our state." Beverley Sorenson believed that a strong arts program will bring up test scores and foster a love of learning that will benefit Utah as a whole. Beverley spoke of her passion for arts education when she said, "Recently I was asked what motivated me to put forth so much effort and money into developing arts education in Utah's elementary schools. My answer was 'because of my love for little children.'"
Students in both the Caine College of the Arts and the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services benefit from the generous support Beverley Taylor Sorenson provided for arts education at Utah State University.
BTSALP arts specialists collaborate with classroom teachers to provide arts instruction that connects with other core areas of curricula such as language arts, math, social studies or science. This approach to teaching engages students in a creative process in which they express their learning through an art form: visual art, music, drama or dance.
This program is a collaborative initiative between USU’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program, the Utah State Office of Education and others to implement new programs at the elementary school level in arts education. Learn more about the BTS Arts Access Program at Utah State University>