On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the Cheyenne River Youth Project officially launched the Lakota Arts Fellowship, the nonprofit youth organization’s latest offering in its Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute. That evening, the inaugural cohort of four Lakota Arts Fellows met with South Dakota Art Council artist-in residence Hector Curriel for a workshop in CRYP’s art studio.
The fall 2019 cohort of Lakota Arts Fellows includes Emanuel Semon, 17, Roberta High Elk, 16, Kailey Carter, 15, and Tovano Brown, 15.
The Lakota Arts Fellowship is a nine-month program that offers exciting opportunities for teens on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation who have indicated they are interested in pursuing careers in the arts. To be a fellow, young people must complete multiple rounds of CRYP’s teen art internships.
“We want to see a real commitment to arts education and evolving skill sets,” said Tyler Read, CRYP’s art director. “We partner each fellow with a mentor, and we provide training on how to go into the arts as a dedicated student and, ultimately, as a professional.”
Lakota Arts Fellows will work on their skills in a variety of disciplines, including graffiti art, digital arts, traditional arts, sculpture, stenciling, graphic arts, and screen printing. In addition, they will have many opportunities to learn more about the business side of art, with classes that include public speaking, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and merchandising. They’ll also be able to explore the impact of public art and discover how art can foster healing in communities.

“Our teen Lakota Art Fellows can expect to log many hours each week, working in various mediums and participating in core trainings that will foster both job and life skills,” Read said. “We intend to provide our students with the resources to pursue their creativity in whatever way they find beneficial, whether it be continuing their education at an arts institution, or progressing forward individually in the professional arts space. 
“What’s more,” he continued, “we want to give them confidence in their abilities to enhance their quality of life, and that of those around them, through the arts.”
To stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@lakotayouth and @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.

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