The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that its second and third cohorts of teen art interns are preparing a formal exhibition of their work, which will be open to the public. Their artwork will be on display from Wednesday, July 6 to Saturday, July 9 in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s classroom.
CRYP is inviting all the interns’ families to attend a special opening reception and honoring ceremony at Cokata Wiconi on Wednesday evening, which also is the first night of the eagerly anticipated RedCan graffiti jam. Guests may view the teens’ framed artwork and enjoy refreshments while mingling with youth project staff and visiting artists.
Also on hand will be Peyton Scott Russell from Minnesota’s Twin Cities, a returning RedCan artist and the lead instructor for CRYP’s innovative, 18-month-old art internship program. This comprehensive program gives Cheyenne River teens the opportunity to build their skills in a variety of artistic disciplines, including traditional art, graffiti art, and street art.
During each four-month internship, participants engage in leadership development workshops and explore the many available career opportunities for artists. According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, the internship program is a natural extension of the nonprofit, grassroots youth organization’s Waniyetu Wowapi (“Winter Count” in the Lakota language) Art Park initiative. Waniyetu Wowapi was formally dedicated in September 2014, and it will be ground zero for the 2nd annual RedCan graffiti jam on July 6-9.
“Our art park is a free public space where community members and visitors can express their own unique voices and share their life experiences in a positive, healthy way,” Garreau explained. “It’s also an outdoor classroom and art laboratory for our interns, who receive firsthand instruction from acclaimed locally, regionally and even nationally recognized artists, and they have critical roles in the art park’s evolution.”
During their internships, the teens participate in both training opportunities and open studio time. They are responsible for planning community events to promote CRYP’s arts initiatives and for showcasing their own work in the youth project’s public art spaces.
The teens each complete 80 hours of instruction to complete the program and receive a $500 award for their time and commitment.
“Not only do our interns develop their artistic techniques, build their skill set, and learn the history of various art forms, they also complete an Artist Marketing and Financial Literacy course, which will provide valuable guidance on how to be successful if they do choose to pursue a career in the arts,” Garreau said. “These internships make a real difference in the lives of these children, and we’re deeply grateful to partners like the National Endowment for the arts, the John T. Vucurevich Foundation and Running Strong for American Indian Youth, whose support makes this program possible.”
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The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.