Take­-home Arts and Craft Kits Popular During Pandemic

By: Nickita Longman November, 2020

The COVID­19 pandemic may have caused many organizations, to cancel their events or programs but it also allowed some organizations, such as Saskatoon Community Youth Arts Programming Inc. (SCYAP), to find new ways and platforms to connect to its audience. 

When in-­person drop-­in sessions became less likely due to social distancing, SCYAP focused on its Exploring Indigenous Culture through Online Workshops and Small Group Sessions project, with financial support from Sask Lotteries.   

Requests for projects that help instill pride, awareness and history for First Nations and Métis culture sparked a new online program. SCYAP took the opportunity to engage youth with online workshops, accompanied by activity kits they could use in their own homes.

SCYAP, a charitable non­profit that aims to help youth­at­risk by providing services such as drop­in art programs, art workshops, and employment­readiness training, mainly focused on in­person programming and support. However, like many arts organizations geared toward public participation, the pandemic has required the organization to shift its offerings to online and distanced delivery methods. 

In the early stages of the pandemic, Tammy Krueckl, SCYAP’s Project Manager, says the shift to online was in the early phases of development. “Some examples of online programming we were exploring included live, drop­in sessions, or creating art kits with craft supplies and online instruction sheets that are housed on our website.”

As part of this program, arts and craft kits were developed and advertised on SCYAP’s Instagram and Facebook for pick­up. “The response was great and a third of our supplies were snatched up immediately,” she says. “Plans to continue creating and distributing kits will be dependent on funding, however, with an amazing response to our initial roll out of the kits, it will be easier to prove that these were a needed addition to our organization’s programming in this time of social distancing.” 

SCYAP’s biggest partnerships are with schools. Schools rely on the programs offered through the organization, particularly to students who are experiencing trouble in a classroom setting. With uncertainty of what the upcoming months may look like, Krueckl explains that SCYAP will continue to remain flexible and prepared for whatever those needs may be. “It is really hard to say what those partnerships will look like during the upcoming school year and into winter,” she says. Plans to deliver the arts and craft kits are currently in the works.

Krueckl describes a necessary learning curve with staff members and their adaptability to an online presence. “We are exploring new ways of delivering workshops, and adjusting to an online world,” she notes. “It is exciting in a way, because so much is happening in online formats recently.” Hosting their own YouTube channel is currently being explored.

The adjustment to online programming would lead to internal staff training and development while providing an opportunity for the SCYAP team to gain new skills. “Perhaps we’ll see a shift in our team roles and responsibilities as we adjust to a larger online presence,” Krueckl adds.  

With the continued shift in formatting programming to an online structure, Krueckl encourages those interested in art workshops to keep an eye on SCYAP’s social media platforms and website. “We will be promoting upcoming workshops as much as possible,” she says. Updates to social media and the website occur on a weekly basis.