The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that acclaimed San Jose, California-based artist and writer Scape Martinez will lead a four-day graffiti art education camp at its Eagle Butte campus from Tuesday, May 30 to Friday, June 2, with lessons taking place from 1 to 5 p.m. each day. Martinez will focus on “Can Control” and “Mural Creation Basics” during the hands-on, intensive mural and graffiti art camp, which is open to all teens.

The camp will begin with the basic principles of can control as well as the mechanics of aerosol paint, its properties, and how to use it as a tool for personal expression. From there, Martinez will teach blends, cuts, fades, outlines, stencils and more advanced can-control techniques, and the teens will have an opportunity to each design a unique piece. The fourth day will be dedicated to a collaborative outdoor painting workshop in the nonprofit youth project’s innovative, public Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park.

Throughout the four-day experience, Martinez will guide students through the rigorous lessons and activities so they understand the creative and mural-making possibilities of spray paint. He also will encourage the students to explore their own identities and creativity in a supportive environment, discuss their work and exchange ideas, and provide respectful, reassuring critiques within the group.

“All of us are excited to welcome Scape back to CRYP,” said Julie Garreau, executive director. “Not only did he lead an incredibly successful graffiti art camp for our teens last year, he will be attending our third annual RedCan graffiti jam this summer as one of our featured artists. He’s an important part of our arts programming here.

“We’re grateful that we can provide our young people with opportunities to take their arts education and skills to the next level, especially in such a creative, dynamic environment,” she continued. “Camps like this give our teens a chance to find their unique voices and preferred styles of expression. They also teach the kids to participate in group discussions and critiques, which they’ll need to do as art students pursuing a professional path.”

In the last three years, Garreau and her staff have worked hard to build valued partnerships with independent artists and arts instructors around the country. These accomplished professionals provide the framework CRYP’s art interns need to pursue future success in the arts.

Martinez himself has noted that this framework can give students an amazing experience. His own personal vision, he wrote last year, is to weave native culture and graffiti culture together, facilitating the creation of “a new visual language while preserving the integrity of both.”

This idea is very much at the heart of the RedCan graffiti jam, Garreau said.

“Graffiti culture resonates deeply with our young people in Indian country, and interestingly, it also has proven to be an effective way of strengthening their connection with their own Lakota culture through visual storytelling,” she explained. “We’re honored that Scape has chosen to be part of what we’re trying to do here, which is becoming a powerful arts movement.”

An accomplished multidisciplinary artist and best-selling writer who has been involved in the graffiti art scene since the 1980s, Martinez has pushed the boundaries of both graffiti and street art, bringing them firmly into the fine art, public art and educational arenas. He also has written four books on creating graffiti-style urban art, and he frequently conducts workshops and lectures for teenagers, fellow artists and educators.
 Martinez first visited the youth project in September 2015 for a week of mural painting and youth arts education. One small boy traveled from Rapid City, two and a half hours each way by car, to see him. He came back in June 2016 for his “Creativity is Contagious” camp; this will be his third visit.

To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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.

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