The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced that it officially launched its Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Performing Art Series on Saturday, Apr. 7 and will host regularly scheduled events through the end of May. The family-friendly series, made possible with funding from NEA Art Works, will incorporate popular films, live performances, a youth wacipi and a handgame tournament in the nonprofit youth organization’s public Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park, as well as Midnight Basketball in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) gymnasium.

This past Saturday, 42 young people enjoyed the “Jumanji” reboot, as well as a DJ performance from Let it Bee and lively kickoff edition of spring Midnight Basketball, both of which ran until 1 a.m. Due to inclement weather, all events were held inside Cokata Wiconi.

According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, the Waniyetu Wowapi Performing Art Series helps fulfill a vision she and her staff first developed more than 10 years ago.

“Our first years really focused on The Main, our youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds,” she explained. “In 2006, however, we were able to start providing teen programming and special community events at Cokata Wiconi; nine years after that, we unveiled the art park with our first RedCan invitational graffiti jam.

“Together, Cokata Wiconi and the art park have become meaningful gathering places for community members of all ages,” she continued. “The performing art series offers even more opportunities for us to celebrate our Lakota culture, make memories, and lift each other up.”

To stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@waniyetuwowapi).

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.