The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has just released the schedule of events for its upcoming 2017 RedCan graffiti jam. The eagerly anticipated arts and culture festival is scheduled for June 29-July 1 in Eagle Butte, South Dakota.
Thirteen headline artists from eight states and Switzerland will attend this year’s RedCan event. More than half have indigenous heritage, including Taino, Hawaiian, O’odham, Yacqui, Cherokee and Lakota; in addition to painting at mural sites around town and in CRYP’s free public Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park, they also will be painting alongside local native artists, attending the teen art interns’ exhibition as honored guests, leading youth art workshops, and giving young people the treasured opportunity to paint alongside their heroes.
Featured artists this year are Estria from Hawaii; East from Denver; Serval from Switzerland; Scribe from Kansas City, Missouri; Kazilla and ER from Miami; Cyfi, Wundr and Biafra Inc. from Minnesota’s Twin Cities; Scape Martinez from San Francisco; Dwayno Insano from Tucson, Arizona; and Siamese and Rehst from Rapid City.
“We’re stunned at how quickly RedCan has gone global,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “In just two short years, we’ve reached artists around the world with our message, and they’re contacting us to express interest in attending. It’s incredible.”
According to the artists, RedCan is appealing because it is truly unique in the graffiti art world.
“RedCan is an art event where artists are asked to focus not on themselves and their work, but rather on where they are, who they are with, and what art means in this place,” Serval explained. “And in return, (CRYP) makes sure they meet, taste, see and feel the Lakota Nation, within which the event takes place. This is not by any means a graffiti jam. It’s an exchange of knowledge, passion and understanding… participants leave with pictures in their minds and hearts as large and vivid as the ones they painted on the community’s buildings.”
Garreau said she believes that it’s this element of “exchange” that causes RedCan to resonate so deeply with Cheyenne River’s young people.
“This merging of Lakota and graffiti culture speaks to them on a profound level,” she said. “They’re eager to interact with the visiting artists, learn from them, and apply new techniques and styles to their own fledgling artwork.”
RedCan 2017 officially kicks off on Thursday, June 29 with the 8:30 a.m. opening prayer in Waniyetu Wowapi. During that first day, community members and visitors can view artists at work from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and attend the Lakota cultural exhibition from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Waniyetu Wowapi. Young people ages 10 to 18 can participate in Rolling Rez Arts classes at 4 to 6 p.m., while separate youth art classes for ages 4 to 10 will be held in a separate area.
On Friday, June 30, artist will once again paint from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., getting started after the opening prayer. In addition to the Rolling Rez Arts classes and youth arts classes, community members and visitors also may attend CRYP’s Leading Lady Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and participate in a Glow/Color Run at 7:30 to 9 p.m.
After the final opening prayer on Saturday, July 1, the last day of painting will commence. That day, Rolling Rez Arts classes will take place from 10 a.m. until noon, with no additional youth arts classes.
“The major highlight on Saturday will be our RedCan concert,” said Tammy Granados, CRYP’s youth programs director. “Anishinaabe and Oneida hip-hop artist TallPall and the Lakota hip-hop artists of Dakota South Records will perform outside in the Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park from 7 to 10 p.m. It’s a free event; bring your own chair and come enjoy some great music and great art!”
According to Granados, music will play an important role throughout RedCan, from DJ tunes to native drum groups.
“RedCan truly is a celebration of Lakota, graffiti culture, and that unique, powerful place where the two intersect,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “The RedCan experience is about art, music and dance, and how through these forms of self-expression, we explore our creativity, find our identity, and perhaps most importantly, find healing.”
RedCan remains Indian Country’s first and only graffiti jam, and it is the signature event for CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Arts Institute. RedCan gives Cheyenne River’s young people, and the community at large, an unparalleled opportunity to experience the contemporary graffiti art movement, learn about different techniques and styles, paint alongside master artists, and explore their own unique voices and identities as they share their stories through the visual arts.
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 50 people at its East Lincoln Street campus.
Staging such a significant event is a monumental task. and in these final weeks prior to RedCan’s official opening, CRYP is seeking to raise $10,000 for paint, art supplies, youth programs supplies, food and beverages, and to help cover the artists’ travel expenses. To make a tax-deductible contribution to CRYP’s RedCan fundraiser, please visit www.lakotayouth.org, click “Donate Now,” and include the note “RedCan 2017.”
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 more. In the coming weeks, CRYP will be sharing more information about planned activities and performances through through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, using the 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.