About Arts Partnership
The mission of the BYU ARTS Partnership is to ensure that all children benefit from an education that provides for academic excellence, social confidence, and personal expression through experience with the arts. We believe that the greatest impact for change will be accomplished through collaborative efforts involving teachers, schools, districts, departments and universities. We believe such efforts will not only improve educational practice in schools, but will also increase community and legislative support, leading to educational renewal that includes arts education for every child.
History of Partnership
The ARTS Partnership began in 2005 with collaborative efforts of four BYU administrators: Richard Young, Dean of the David O. McKay School of Education; Stephen Jones, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications; Sara Lee Gibb, Dean of what was then the College of Health and Human Performance, and Steven Baugh, Director of the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling (CITES). These individuals met to explore and propose a program to provide arts opportunities and arts instruction in public elementary schools. They were concerned that the arts were beginning to disappear from public schools with the narrowing of curricula to accommodate high stakes testing. They approached Beverley Sorenson, a generous arts education advocate and philanthropist, for possible funding, which was awarded in 2006 and augmented in 2008. The coordinating committee collaboratively developed and implemented professional development programs for teachers and teacher candidates: Arts Academy, Arts Express, and Arts Bridge.
Beverley Taylor Sorenson
By adding arts to schools we are going to make life better for the children. That’s what little children do: they sing, they dance, and they create.
Over the past 15 years, Beverly has worked tirelessly in promoting arts for elementary school children. In addition to providing initial funding to launch the BYU ARTS Partnership, she has committed a total of six million dollars in support of the project. Her vision, that every child in the State of Utah receive sustained sequential training in the arts, is being supported by multiple donations across the state. Her significant gifts for elementary arts education at five universitites ensure that Utah’s children will benefit in perpetuity. She also lobbied the legislature to fund arts specialists in schools through the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program. Because of her commitment and generosity, tens of thousands of children’s lives have been and will continue to be impacted by the transformative power of arts education. For more information, visit artworksforkids.org.
Don & Mima Hicken
As an elementary school teacher in Wasatch District, Mima Hicken inspired and impacted her students through her creative gifts. Her husband, Don, set up an endowment in her memory to provide elementary teachers with arts training in a symposium to be held once a year, thus allowing Mima’s legacy to live on as other teachers develop creative resources for their own classrooms. This funding supports the annual Learning Edge Conference.