Weber State receives $3 million gift for arts education

Arts • Donation will expand elementary arts program, fund new chair.
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Arts education in the Ogden area got a boost Wednesday as Weber State University announced a $3 million gift from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation.

The donation will support the expansion of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program, a state-funded effort to integrate the arts into classrooms, as well as a new endowed chair position to run it.

The new Beverley Taylor Sorenson Endowed Chair for Elementary Arts Education, Tamara Goldbogen, comes to Weber State from the University of Pittsburgh, where she directed a Shakespeare in the Schools community outreach program. She's also worked at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, founded a nonprofit for young writers and leads an international performing-arts and children's theater study-abroad program.

The Sorenson arts program has been active for the past three years at two schools in the Ogden area; the new infusion of cash will help establish it at more schools and continue in perpetuity.

As the chair, Goldbogen will work with others at Weber State as well as the Utah State Office of Education to teach university students how to incorporate music, dance, drama and visual arts into the core curriculum in schools all over Utah. She'll also work with administrators and offer teacher training at elementary schools in Ogden, Weber, Davis, Morgan and Box Elder counties.

The donation will "develop and encourage important arts integration practices among aspiring arts educators, benefitting the children they teach for years to come," said Madonne Miner, dean of the Lindquist College of Arts and Humanities at WSU, in a statement.