About Friends of Art Works for Kids

Friends of Art Works for Kids is a grassroots initiative created to advocate for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTS Program) and ensure that Utah’s school children receive the benefits of high-quality, integrated arts instruction. The goal of Friends of Art Works for Kids is to bring this innovative program to all elementary students across the state.

The BTS Program collaborates with the Utah State Office of Education, Utah Arts Council, Utah PTA, higher education institutions, and other community organizations, and to date has helped more than 100,000 Utah school children across the state receive the arts-rich education they deserve.

The BTS program is funded by the Utah State Legislature, and every year Friends for Art Works for Kids lobbies these elected officials to keep the program in the state’s education budget. To spread the word about the benefits of this program—both to local communities and to the Utah Legislature—Friends of Art Works for Kids needs the help of parents, teachers, and other community leaders. Become a friend today and help us keep the BTS program in Utah’s schools.

Our History

Beverley Sorenson

Throughout her life, Beverley Taylor Sorenson (1924–2013) was a tireless champion for the arts. She began developing an integrated arts teaching model in 1995 by collaborating with arts education professionals, state organizations, and higher education institutions throughout Utah. In 2008, the Utah State Legislature adopted the model, named it the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program in Beverley’s honor, and has since provided the funding needed to place the program in a portion of elementary schools across the state. Right up until her passing at the age of 89, Beverley was a fixture at Capitol Hill, and she committed her time and efforts to lobbying the legislature for more funding to ensure that every elementary child in Utah receives the benefits of an arts-rich education through this program.

To develop a strong and lasting foundation, Beverley and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation have committed more than $50 million to the program, including establishing higher education programs at Brigham Young University, Southern Utah University, the University of Utah, Utah State University and Westminster College to train those who teach art to elementary school children.

To view a full bio on Beverley Sorenson, click here .

What is the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program?

The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTS Program) provides arts-integrated instruction to elementary students, effectively increasing student performance in every subject—from language arts and social studies to math and science. The program is currently in 220 Utah elementary schools in 29 districts (including 16 charter schools) and is serving approximately 114,000 students.

Infrastructure of the BTS Program

The BTS Program puts specialists trained in one of four art disciplines (visual art, dance, music and theater) in elementary schools to work alongside classroom teachers to develop lesson plans for the core curricula that incorporate art. The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) administers the program statewide, and collaborates with deans and staff from Utah State University, University of Utah, Brigham Young University, Southern Utah University, Weber State University and Westminster College to provide professional development for the arts specialists and classroom teachers. These institutions also work with the USOE to manage the successful implementation of the BTS Program in their respective areas of the state.

Statewide Snapshot

  • Over 325 BTS Program Schools
  • 31 School Districts
  • 23 Charter Schools
  • 200+ Title I Schools
  • ★ 7 University Partners
  • Approx. 230,000 students served across the state

Our Schools

For a list of all BTS schools click here.

Get the Program

With the Utah Legislature’s continued support and allocation of additional resources, the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTS Program) is expanding. For the 2015-16 school year, nearly 60 new schools adopted the BTS Program, meaning 130 schools across the state are now benefitting from an arts-integrated education. Stakeholders are currently working on securing ongoing funding from the legislature, and ultimately hope to make the BTS Program available to all elementary schools in Utah.

For more information on how to get the BTS Program in your elementary school, email info@artworksforkids.org .

Advocacy Leadership

James Lee Sorenson

A world-renowned entrepreneur, leader and innovator, James Lee Sorenson has built successful companies in industries ranging from technology and life sciences to real estate and investment. Jim enjoys combining innovative ideas with talented management teams to produce new enterprises. Jim has helped establish impactful programs that improve lives, build regional communities and train future leaders. Jim also works with charitable enterprises that lift and empower people to become self-sufficient.

Jim has served on community service boards including Mission Markets, University Venture Fund, Art Works for Kids, Gallaudet University, the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, and the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Joan Fenton

Joan Sorenson Fenton is a philanthropist and humanitarian who serves as President and Chairperson the Sorenson Legacy Foundation. She has spent over 10 years as a director of the Foundation, which provides support for childhood education enhancement in schools, arts education training programs, STEM education initiatives in public schools and universities, funding for disadvantaged or abused children and women, funding for major artistic non profit institutions such as the Utah Symphony and Opera and the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and more. Joan is passionate about nurturing children—a vision she inherited from her mother, the late Foundation co-founder Beverley Taylor Sorenson.

Joe Sorenson

Joseph Taylor Sorenson is the founder and CEO of Endeavor Capital Group. He has served as a board member of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation for more than 15 years, where he has helped support a wide range of philanthropic and humanitarian endeavors at the local, national and international level.

Joe has played a vital leadership role in other companies, including serving as president of the healthcare research company Sorex Medical and leading the development of cosmetic and nutritional products for Sorenco Laboratories.

Lisa Cluff

Lisa Cluff has been part of Art Works for Kids since its inception in 1995, and became executive director of the organization in 2008. In this position, Lisa works closely with educational institutions and arts organizations across the state to advance arts in Utah. Art Works for Kids is a 501c(3), and Lisa also manages the grant process for the organization to ensure the continuation of professional development and growth of both classroom and arts teachers.

Lisa is passionate about the arts and education, and has seen firsthand the positive influence the arts have had on her own daughter, who has flourished in school and has a passion for dancing. Together with Beverley, Lisa works tirelessly toward the vision of ensuring every child in Utah receives an arts-rich and well-rounded education, and has become a respected leader in arts education in Utah.