Earlier this month, Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP) held its first RedCan Graffiti Jam, an event that brought acclaimed graffiti artists together with young people on the Cheyenne River Reservation. The festive atmosphere resulted from a combination of artistic expression, Native culture, and youth engagement. With massive paintings taking shape all around them, Tribal members held a drum circle and danced in regalia. As these pictures by Richard Sternberger show, RedCan was a day that few of these young people will forget.
“It’s difficult to describe, the magic that happened on Cheyenne River earlier this month,” said Julie Garreau of CRYP. “I’m still stunned by it, from the boundless creative energy to the spirit of camaraderie and fellowship among so many different people from different walks of life. Beautiful work was created, yes, but more importantly, RedCan inspired and lifted up an entire community. It was extraordinary, and it was the most powerful demonstration of the healing power of art that I’ve ever seen.”
RedCan took place on July 8-9 in Eagle Butte and on July 11 in Rapid City’s Art Alley, and participating artists included East Foster from Denver, Kazilla from Miami, Meme from California, Siamese from Rapid City, and Daesk, Biafra Inc. and Wundr from Minnesota’s Twin Cities.
Cheyenne River Youth Project had more landmark news to report this month, as the organization was awarded a $100,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. According to NEA Chairman Jane Chu, CRYP was one of 275 applicants for this year’s Our Town awards, and it’s one of 69 award recipients nationwide. “CRYP demonstrates the best in creative community development, and (its) work will have a valuable impact on its community,” Chu said. “Through Our Town funding, arts organizations continue to spark vitality that support neighborhoods and public spaces, enhancing a sense of place for residents and visitors alike.”