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Family Arts: Why children should be exposed to the arts

Published: Saturday, Jan. 7 2012 4:00 p.m. MST

Arts, Hunt explained, are a natural thing that shouldn’t be overlooked in a child’s education and experience growing up.

“If you are around little children, everything is sung and danced and acted. Their natural state of being is in that state of imagination," she said. "That’s who we are as human beings. We’re creative by nature.”

The studies also acknowledged Utah’s average student enrollment — which is nearly twice as large as that of every neighboring state. Despite legislative funding, despite a culture centered on arts, reaching every child can be difficult.

“We have our work cut out for us,” Hunt said.

Programs like The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Program, formed by a legislative bill in 2008, are part of ongoing efforts to improve elementary school arts education.

Cathy Jensen, state fine arts specialist who heads both the Professional Outreach Program in the School and the Beverley Taylor Sorenson program, discussed the purposes of both programs: to harbor creativity, to show kids possible careers, or to merely introduce them to something they can love.

Larson, Hawkins, Fowler and Ballam are all involved with the professional outreach program as well. Speak with any of them, and their passion for exposing as many children as possible to the arts is evident.

“You just don’t know without opportunity, what blatant skills and attributes lie within a child that could be untapped without exposure,” Jensen said.

Next week: Catch a glimpse of the many different arts outreach programs in Utah schools and the impact these programs have.

Email: hbowler@desnews.com

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