The children’s theater in downtown Puyallup is growing — both the size of its building and the size of its enrollment.
And now, Becky Cain-Kellogg, owner of Puyallup Children’s Theater & Music Academy, is getting a shot at fostering community involvement with theater and the arts.
Cain-Kellogg was one of seven people appointed to the city’s new Arts and Culture Commission to bring community awareness and involvement in local art practices. She will serve a four-year term.
“I was just really optimistic and excited to see what we can do,” said Cain-Kellogg, adding that the commission is a way to make the arts more “community-centered.”
In October, Puyallup City Council approved an ordinance to establish the commission. After taking in applications, the Council held interviews.
“Art and culture are economic drivers,” said Puyallup Council member Heather Shadko. “It brings people into town who might not normally come in. The city had been talking about an arts commission in 2009 ... the timing was right. We’ve got a lot of really great people. This is the first time in a long time that we’ve had a new commission.”
Cain-Kellogg said she was encouraged to apply by others — so she did, interested in getting “more community arts involvement and also (getting) my business more community exposure.”
The City Council approved candidates at its Dec. 6 meeting.
“We were really trying to make sure we have someone from everywhere,” Shadko said. “And I think we have a great group of people — they all wear a lot of hats.”
Cain-Kellogg heard the news of her selection shortly after the announcement was made. The following week, more good news: she officially introduced her new studio to the public at 300 N. Meridian in downtown Puyallup — a mere 30 feet from her previous space.
The new facility is double the size of her old one, at 2,500 square feet. Instead of a single room, there are several, which will allow the business to hold back-to-back classes at once.
“It has air conditioning, it has the space we need — and we have two bathrooms now,” Cain-Kellogg said about the building. “We have a lobby now, which we didn’t have before … it just sort of came together. With this additional space, we can build.”
Puyallup Children’s Theater & Music Academy first opened its doors seven years ago with the intention to be a two-year endeavor. But it became clear to Cain-Kellogg that the interest of local families was too high — so she kept the program going.
When a location next door became available in August, Cain-Kellogg — with help from her son and business partner, Zachary Kellogg — toured the space and found it to be a perfect fit.
“It was still a downtown location — we didn’t want to lose that,” said Zach, 19.
They began renovating in September, and a month later they moved in. Zach, along with his three sisters, Bethany, 29, Kamryn, 18, and Erinne, 15, work in the theater alongside their mother and father, Dave, who plays piano for performances.
“They’ve all grown up with (music),” Cain-Kellogg said about her children. “They fill in wherever.”
The theater hosts around 16 performances per quarter and registers about 175 children between the ages of one and 18.
“Our big thing is we focus on children,” Cain-Kellogg said. “Some of our kids have been in our program since we’ve opened our doors. Our theater has become a community.”
With a passion for theater and music, Cain-Kellogg is well-equipped as a member of the Arts and Culture Commission. With a bachelor’s degree in music and theater from Washington State University and a master’s degree in curriculum design from Lesley University, Cain-Kellogg has taught music and theater for 30 years and has published three educational books on Amazon.
For the commission’s first meeting in February, Cain-Kellogg already has some ideas brewing that she’s interested in implementing, including a community music walk that would connect local businesses involved in the arts.
“I’d like to see us take a program into the schools,” she added. “I feel really strongly that kids who play instruments need to learn to read music… Right now there’s nothing else for kids — especially kids who still need training.”
To learn more about Puyallup Children’s Theater & Music Academy and its various programs, visit puyallupchildrenstheater.com.
Puyallup’s Arts and Culture Commission members
▪ David DeGroot, former curator at the Pacific Bonsai Museum and chairman of Arts Downtown (two-year term)
▪ Rosemary Eckerson, retired director of the Karshner Museum (two-year term)
▪ Bradley Pugh, scientific assistant at WSU Extension Center and working artist (two-year term)
▪ Kathy Turner, former city of Puyallup mayor and council member (two-year term)
▪ Lynda Belt, Karshner Museum and events and exhibit planner (two-year term)
▪ Becky Cain-Kellogg, founder and owner of Puyallup Children’s Theater & Music Academy (four-year term)
▪ Petra Carr, artistic director of Act 1 Theater (four-year term)