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Finding a home for the local arts at Enumclaw Chalet

Yure Vasquez sets up the stage at the Chalet theater. - Dennis Box, Courier-Herald
Yure Vasquez sets up the stage at the Chalet theater.
— image credit: Dennis Box, Courier-Herald

With an eye toward increasing Enumclaw’s reputation as a welcoming home for the arts, a local group has banded together to form Chalet Arts Showcase Theater.

The nonprofit organization, known simply as CAST, traces its roots to former city mayor John Wise. Last year, he approached a handful of individuals, wondering if they would be interested in exploring the possibility of purchasing the 85-year-old Chalet Theater, 1721 Wells St. It was learned that Chalet owner Ken Kerr might be interested in selling.

Encouraged by that news, CAST members are now in the process of lining up sponsors and entertainment to jumpstart the fundraising effort that would make acquisition a reality.

The kickoff event came in November when CAST hosted ragtime pianist Bob Milne at the Chalet.

Step two came Saturday, when CAST hosted Moneta, a Seattle-based pop/punk band.

Future concerts will feature Shoreline Drive from Buckley, Palmer Junction from Enumclaw and In All Honesty from Auburn.

The CAST hope is to continue showing movies at The Chalet, while adding a new, larger stage and making other improvements that would allow for larger performances like plays, dance recitals, civic events, band and choral concerts and youth activities.

While renovation is in order, CAST understands the historic value of the theater. Lighting, sound and other features will have to be considered.

That fits with Kerr’s desire to see the building preserved as a historic landmark in downtown Enumclaw. While admitting he’s in no hurry to sell, Kerr acknowledged he has had tentative discussions with the group. He said he has no desire to sell if the building would be used for an entirely different purpose.

Anyone interested in donating to the CAST cause may contact treasurer Linda Kleppe-Olson at 253-228-5935.

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