History of Children's Creations
In 1992 Janae Dean recognized the need for a children's theater in the community. Janae's passion for the arts coupled with her gifts and creativity, founded Children's Creations in Kentwood, Michigan.
A dream to build a company that would facilitate a need for individual expression through the arts for kids was born. Children's Creations began in the La Placita plaza on 44th St. in Kentwood. In the early days Children's Creations offered classes in art, painting, drawing, girl's charm classes, sewing, birthday parties, and theater with a special emphasis on acting.
Having no employees at this time, Janae developed all the necessary components and curriculums for all classes associated with Children's Creations. As with any start-up company, business was slow, but the growth was steady. It took some time to educate the public that such a company existed. In June of 1992, Dr. Mary Liekhart, Superintendent of Kentwood Schools visited the studio as one of the first parents to become involved. She enrolled her son and soon began to share with the community the news of this wonderful program. At the end of a six week term, the trained children would perform a major production for the community. This was unheard of and some theater companies even scoffed at the idea, but the parents of the kids wholly supported the program, seeing first-hand the changes in the lives of their children. As the self-esteem in the children began to rise, so did the popularity of Children's Creations. The first production was The Wizard of Oz. The cast was made up of students from all over the greater Grand Rapids area including Janae's three sons, Jadon as the Scarecrow, Kurtis as the Mayor and Matthew as the lollipop guild. Janae, being an innovative, do-it-yourself type person, began to design and sew costumes. She recruited her mother to help as there were approximately 30 munchkins enrolled. Janae borrowed a typewriter and typed a letter to all the music teachers in the area schools and invited them to a special matinee performance, which was also a first in the area. With virtually no budget, she borrowed $1000 from a friend with the promise to pay her back as tickets sold for the show. To her great surprise, 3,000 people attended and the show was an overwhelming success.
By 1997 Children's Creations had become the theater company for kids and moved to the Cascade Michigan area. In addition to the Cascade studio, The Potter's House Christian School (an inner-city Christian school) solicited Janae and Children's Creations to direct their school play. For fifteen years consecutively she has directed each school production and continues to do so.
In 2005 Janae hired her son Kurtis as the business administrator. After careful evaluation it was decided that the demand was changing. Parents and students wanted to be involved in theater more than art classes. That year, Children's Creation became a theater company only. With Kurtis aboard, the company broadened its operational scope and redesigned the studio. The purpose has not changed neither has the care or professional training the children receive.
What has changed is the growing demand. In 2008 Children's Creations will expand with an additional facility back to the city where it had its beginnings in Kentwood.
Additionally, in 2006 the Chamber of Commerce in Eaton Rapids, Michigan (fifteen minutes south of Lansing, Michigan) contacted Janae and requested a Children's Creations in their city. Children's Creations is now proud to announce that it has produced five shows in that community and is the only theater company in Eaton Rapids.
Janae Dean has always loved children. She believes that the most important element to the success in children is opportunity in a safe environment. Children's Creations is effectively that environment.
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Monday, Dec 7, 2020 at 2:00pm Eastern Time
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