Beverley Taylor Sorenson Painting Gala Event

If you have been in the David O. McKay Building on BYU campus recently, you have probably seen this new painting in the middle stairwell.

Painting by Robert Barrett, on display in the David O. McKay Building
To the casual observer, this 5-foot by 10-foot painting depicts children at play painting, dancing, and playing instruments. However, there is a deeper message and history behind the beautiful image.

The mural is to honor the contributions of Beverley Taylor Sorenson and her family. Their philanthropic efforts have created a legacy of increased arts education throughout Utah. Proceeds from a BYU endowment help fund programs in the BYU ARTS Partnership, comprised of the McKay School of Education and the College of Fine Arts and Communications. These programs increase Utah elementary school students' experiences with art and provide quality instruction for teachers and teacher candidates.

Some of the founding members of the BYU ARTS Partnership.
Back: Rory Scanlon, Stephen Jones, Cecil Samuelson, Richard Young
Front: Deb Escalante, Cally Flox, Beverley Sorenson, Lisa Cluff, Sarah Lee Gibb
Beverley often said, “That’s what little children do. They sing, they dance, they play, they create.” She envisioned teachers creating a learning environment that would nurture a child's creativity and build his or her confidence. She saw providing an education rich in the arts as a way to realize her dream because—as she said—it tapped into what children already did naturally. 

The arts not only help strengthen learning in other subject areas, they also help reach students who might be struggling in school or with social confidence. Beverley believed that making each child feel unique and valued was paramount in education.

Beverley with students                 
Children perform the Maypole dance with Beverley
As a six-year-old, Beverley was chosen to be the May Day queen at her school’s May Day celebration. It was the first moment she could remember feeling individually important. She recalled, “It made me feel so unique and special to shine in something, and that made a difference in my life. So I have seen the need of understanding an individual child.”

The McKay School selected BYU professor of illustration Robert Barrett to create the painting after Barrett proposed the Maypole theme to celebrate Beverley’s childhood experience.
Painting by Robert Barrett
An open house gala was held on April 2 to celebrate the installation of the painting. Deans from both the McKay School of Education and the College of Fine Arts and Communications were in attendance, along with faculty, family, and friends.
Dean Mary Anne Prater (MSE), Dean Stephen Jones (CFAC), artist Robert Barrett,
Associate Dean Randy Boothe (CFAC)

The painting is now a permanent fixture in the McKay School of Education where it serves as a reminder of Sorenson's wish that every child feel unique and valued, and that learning be joyful.

Open house gala April 2, 2015

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