RedCan is rising: This summer, graffiti artists from around the world will converge once again in a small town on the South Dakota prairie for a groundbreaking, one-of-a-kind arts celebration: the third annual RedCan graffiti jam at the Cheyenne River Youth Project®. The nonprofit organization has just launched a new teaser trailer for RedCan 2017, available here on the CRYP website and on YouTube.
The RedCan gathering, scheduled for June 29-July 1 at CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park and at sites throughout the Eagle Butte community, is unlike any other public graffiti event in the country. Here, on the remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Lakota reservation, graffiti culture and Lakota culture come together in an explosion of culture, artistic innovation and creativity, and multicultural fellowship.
Featured artists this year are Estria from Hawaii; East from Denver; Serval from Switzerland; Scribe from Kansas City, Missouri; Scape Martinez from San Francisco; Kazilla and ER from Miami; Dwayno Insano from Tucson, Arizona; and Biafra Inc., Cyfi and Wundr from Minnesota’s Twin Cities.
More than half of the 11 headlining artists have indigenous heritage, including Taino, Hawaiian, O’odham, Yacqui, Cherokee and Lakota. Eight are returning artists, while three—Estria, Scape and Dwayno Insano—will be experiencing their first RedCan.
In addition, CRYP is preparing to welcome Ojibwe rapper TallPaul, Lakota hip-hop artists Dakota South, and 15 members of YouCan, a youth group from Chicago. And, once again, the youth project will host an extensive Lakota dance exhibition during RedCan.
“When we first came up with the idea for RedCan in late 2014, we thought it would be a one-time event, perhaps two years at most,” reflected Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Since it launched in July 2015, it’s really taken on a life of its own. We have more indigenous artists and entertainers who are interested in being part of what we’re doing here. Our community is behind us, providing three additional painting locations for this year’s RedCan. And we’ve been able to improve Waniyetu Wowapi.”
Art park improvements include new walls, a new container, more lighting, and a completed walking path. In addition, North Dakota State University landscape architects have provided five designs for the art park, so CRYP can begin charting what the next phase of development will look like.
“Public art in general and RedCan in particular have deeply resonated with our community,” Garreau said. “During RedCan, you’ll see children learning new skills at the Rolling Rez Art Bus or painting walls in Waniyetu Wowapi. You’ll see our teen interns exhibiting their work in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center. You’ll see Lakota dancers honoring their heritage amid a backdrop of stunning contemporary artwork, and you’ll see members of our community visiting with the artists at sites across town.
“It’s remarkable, the impact that RedCan has,” she continued. “At its heart, it’s all about cultural exchange, reconciliation and healing, as much as demonstrating to our children that they can explore their identities and express themselves in a healthy way that lifts up their nation. It’s hard to put into words. You can only understand RedCan if you experience it.”
And the public is welcome to attend RedCan. Lodging is available at area motels; since rooms do tend to book out quickly, CRYP is offering camping for up to 100 people at its East Lincoln Street campus.
Hosting such a major event with acclaimed artists from around the world is no small task, and CRYP is asking for support from RedCan fans. Simply visit click “Help CRYP” above to make an online donation, and include the note “RedCan 2017.” All proceeds will be used to purchase paint, artist supplies, food and beverages, and to help cover the artists’ travel expenses. For more information on how to help support RedCan, contact organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about this year’s RedCan graffiti jam, please visit www.lakotayouth.org/redcan, where you also can view the teaser trailer for RedCan 2017, documentaries from the first two annual events, and so much more. In the coming weeks, CRYP will be sharing more information about planned activities and performances through the website and through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—hashtag #RedCanRising.
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.