Sarah Carapreso

Sarah Caropreso, recreation supervisor for the Jaycee Park Center for Arts and Crafts stands next to a table with information about the center.

During the stay at home order, Jaycee Arts has kept busy by creating daily arts and craft tutorials and sewing fabric face masks for full-time recreation and parks employees. 

The Jaycee Park Center for Arts & Crafts community art center, located at 2000 Cedar Lane, decided to share arts and crafts tutorials on its social media pages after realizing the need for creative rethinking for summer programming while keeping everyone safe and providing a fun experience.

While closed, the Jaycee Arts and Crafts Center shares arts and crafts tutorials on Facebook and Instagram. Since parents are homeschooling their children, Jaycee arts and crafts are providing the tutorials to provide a creative outlet for art education.

Sara Caropreso, recreation supervisor for the Jaycee Park Center for Arts and Crafts, said the primary audience is families with young children, the audience the youth arts and crafts programs cater to. 

The community arts center offers programs for youth and adults ages three and up, according to Caropreso. The programs include ballet and tap dance, drawing, pottery, painting, sewing and quilting. The center also has an active Pottery Club which provides studio space and kiln firings to members, Caropreso said.

The arts and craft center participates in many community events throughout the year including Youth Arts Festival, Paint in the Park, Greenville Gives and PirateFest, Caropreso said. She said the center hosts two annual art events at Jaycee Park, which include the Carter Williams Art Show & Fundraiser and the Holiday Art Sale.

Caropreso said that she looks for activities that are simple, fun and creative, and can be done using common household items so people do not have to leave their homes to try and find materials. She said she chooses a variety of arts and crafts to appeal to a large group of people and she shares tutorials themed around upcoming holidays and events in celebration of them. 

“My main goal with the arts and crafts tutorials is to offer a creative outlet for families at home. For youth, art provides many developmental benefits, including improved motor skills, language development, decision making, cultural awareness and academic performance. For adults, art can enhance critical thinking, stimulate the imagination and offer an avenue for creative expression,” Caropreso said.

There has been an increase in Jaycee Park Arts and Crafts social media following, Caropreso said, with a gaining of more than fifty new Instagram and Facebook followers over the last month. She said she hopes the increase in social media followers will translate to increased participation in the arts programs and summer camps when the center is able to open back up. 

“Art is for everyone. I believe we can all benefit from adding creativity into our daily lives. Art can be an escape from the stresses in our lives. Art can provide creative expression that is sometimes hard to put into words. Like daily exercise keeps individuals physically fit, I believe that artistic expression benefits mental health and a general sense of well-being,” Caropreso said. 

Samantha Parsells Strathy, local art teacher and mother of two boys, a 7-year-old and 2-year-old, said she found the arts and crafts tutorials on Facebook. She said art comes naturally to her and her sons. She said they love to create, and they look forward to the next project each day. 

“The tutorials are quite helpful for ideas, and are an easy way to show the instruction to the children while completing it hands on with them. The kids see the final project and get excited that they can make that too. Seeing the steps I think makes it easier for the kids to realize they can do the final result,” Strathy said. 

 While city officials and recreation and parks staff continue to monitor the information presented by Governor Roy Cooper, the North Carolina Health and Human Services department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Jaycee Park Center for Arts and Crafts plans to resume operations with a departmental phased approach that follows government and safety guidelines to ensure the safety of art instructor staff and youth and adult participants, according to Caropreso.

The center plans to offer arts and crafts programs in the summer, Caropreso said, but details are still being finalized. For more information visit their website.

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