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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Micheal Bassis, president of Westminster College, says goodbye to Beverley Taylor Sorenson after talking about the $3 million gift from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, which will allow Westminster College to expand its art and art education programs at Westminster in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 13, 2012.

SALT LAKE CITY — Westminster College has received a $3 million gift from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation to expand its art and art education programs.

The arts are essential to children's education, said philanthropist and arts education advocate Beverley Taylor Sorenson.

“Little children sing and they dance and they play, and they have fun ... to me, it was wrong when they took the arts out of the elementary schools,” she said.

The grant will establish fellowships and an outreach program for teachers and artists. A portion of the funds will help set up a teacher training curriculum for a Montessori program, which emphasizes children's independence and discovery.

“This gift enables Westminster to continue dynamic programs in arts education that attract experienced artists who wish to earn a teaching license with an emphasis in creative arts, and experienced teachers wishing to specialize in arts education,” said Bob Shaw, dean of Westminster’s School of Education, in a prepared statement. “This generous gift will impact the lives and educations of untold generations of students through innovative, arts-based teacher training methodology for both traditional and Montessori schools.”