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The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts on the Southern Utah University campus in Cedar City was dedicated Thursday morning in front of a crowd of hundreds that included Gov. Gary Herbert, representatives of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, Utah Shakespeare Festival staff, festival guests and members of the Cedar City community.
“The impact of today will be felt for generations to come,” Herbert said during his address.
The $38.6 million facility is the new home of the Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Southern Utah Museum of Arts and also includes the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, the Randall L. Jones Theatre and the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre.
The center rests on six acres and “incorporates visual arts, live theatre and dynamic arts education,” according to information from SUU.
Speakers at the dedication included the center’s architect, Kevin Blalock; general contractor Jack Livingood; Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson; SUU President Scott L. Wyatt, Herbert and Ann Crocker, one of Beverley Taylor Sorenson’s daughters.
In his remarks, Herbert referred to Proverbs 29:18 that states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
“That means just the reverse of that, where there is vision, the people’s lives will in fact prosper,” he said. “We see the results of that throughout our state, but we see it certainly exemplified here today.”
Herbert specifically mentioned USF founder Fred Adams, USF executive director R. Scott Phillips and former SUU President Gerald R. Sherratt among those who maintained a “vision of what could be.”
According to information from SUU, the new facility was named in honor of Beverley Taylor Sorensen after a $6 million gift from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation.
“Beverley Taylor Sorensen was a tireless advocate for arts education,” according to a news release. “Her legacy and passion is echoed in this new center.”
“This spot stands as her beacon, not just to southern Utah or Utah or even to the West, but as a beacon that can inspire our nation of what we can achieve when many pull together in a common purpose,” Ken Verdoia, chairman of the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, said during his remarks as master of ceremonies.
The SUMA was also dedicated Thursday morning and is intended to be “a student-centered experiential learning environment that collects, preserves and exhibits the visual arts of southern Utah and surrounding Colorado Plateau,” according to a news release.
The 18,000-square-foot museum was built with five adaptable gallery spaces to accommodate traveling exhibits, a special collection of work by Utah artist Jimmie Jones and rotating exhibits from the permanent collections, according to information from the university.
Members of the Sorenson family were honored with commemorative medals and pieces of art in appreciation of the foundation’s donation, and Beverley Taylor Sorenson’s legacy was mentioned repeatedly throughout the ceremonies.
“(While at the festival), as you listen to the bugle blare, feel the beat of the drum, watch the brushstrokes convey beauty, or sit on the edge of your seat as the actor transforms into his character and another soul, rejoice in and pay tribute to their gifts. This is what Beverley did,” Crocker said. “She knew that art changes the world. May this remarkable new center change and bless all of us for years ahead.”