Ryan Dangerfield | Staff writer | @ryandanger23
Photo courtesy of UVU
Utah Valley University announced Thursday that $15.4 million has been raised to fund a new performing and visual arts building to be located on their Orem campus.
“The arts are an essential part of a genuine university education that prepares students for lifelong learning,” said Utah Valley University President Matthew Holland. “An arts building will provide, for the first time on our campus, those critical spaces for preparation, practice, and performance. An arts facility is a key ingredient in UVU’s fully fledged role as a university.”
A large part of the funds raised were donated by The Ray & Tye Noorda Foundation. The existing Noorda Theatre is also a result of a previous gift from the same foundation. Other donors include Utah County, the UVU Foundation and hundreds of private donors including major donations from the Marriott Foundation, Ira Fulton, Scott Anderson, and Kem Gardner.
“If a person wants to really be great you better be involved in the arts,” said Dean of the School of the Arts K. Newell Dayley. “The arts are important for community life, they are important for individual life, and thinking.”
UVU is hoping to get additional funding from the Utah state legislature to bring the total up $36 million, the $15.4 million raised by the school is only a little over 40 percent of the hopeful budget. However, the amount nonetheless is the largest amount of private funding raised for a new facility in the school’s history.
“It is important to have a new arts building for the same reason it is important to have a new science building with labs,” said Dayley. “You cannot learn science without labs, you cannot learn the arts without labs. Our labs are concert halls, theaters, and practice rooms. Students cannot become all they should be without those facilities.”
Holland will be proposing this building request to the legislature this year, and has pledged to continue to do so until UVU has enough public and private funds to build the new arts building. The building of this new arts building will be a long process, and Holland said UVU is just at the beginning of its campaign for the new building.
“I have always said from the moment I stepped foot on this campus the arts are an essential part of the university education, and in many ways our commitment to being a true university would be tested by our commitment to helping the arts flourish on this campus,” said Holland. “And they have flourished each year 20,000 students take arts-related courses at this school.”
The School of the Arts currently consists of the departments of Art & Visual Communications, Dance, Music and Theatrical Arts for Stage & Screen. UVU has earned national and international awards, from becoming the first school ever to win the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival top honors in back-to-back years, to being named the top collegiate choir in the nation among 900 competing schools.