The Cheyenne River Youth Project took its 2019-2020 cohort of Lakota Art Fellows to Minneapolis on Feb. 28 to Mar. 1 for an intensive arts immersion experience. CRYP Art Director Tyler Read accompanied fellows Kailey Carter and Emanual Semon on this special two-day field trip.
The whirlwind tour included trips to the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s museum and school campus, the Walker Art Center, and the Guthrie Theater. The fellows also visited the downtown riverfront to learn more about the Twin Cities’ industrious history, as well as its connection to North and South Dakota via the Federal Reserve System; and the Mall of America, exploring the roles of culture and art in everything from interior spaces to fashion design.
“We had wonderful conversations about art and its role in our society,” Read said. “The fellows really seemed to enjoy learning more about Asian culture and art, Native American art, and the highly ornamental architectural installations in 19th century American housing.”
According to Read, the fellows were profoundly moved by the installation pieces of renowned artist Ai Weiwei for the exhibit “When Home Won’t Let You Stay.” The exhibit explores the experiences of immigrants and refugees, focusing specifically on the crisis between Syria and Afghanistan, and on those who make the treacherous crossing from Turkey to Greece.
“This inherently raw experience left the fellows in silence, with a few tears,” Read recalled.
He also noted that the fellows found much to discuss at the Walker Art Center, a contemporary art facility that focuses on visual, performing, and media arts with a multidisciplinary approach. For example, they discussed feeling a distinct lack of inspiration when viewing an installation of what appeared to be a string of lights easily purchased at a dollar store.
“Kailey expressed her gratitude for the time she’s spending at CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute, developing a strong skill set,” Read said. “She told me that it makes her feel that she likes what she’s doing even more. That means a lot to us, because we are constantly telling our art students that the investment they make in their work today absolutely will be worth it if they seek to pursue a career in the arts tomorrow.”
CRYP launched its Lakota Art Fellowship program in 2019. Operated through the Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute, this nine-month fellowship is designed for young people who have completed multiple teen arts internships and have expressed interest in pursuing advanced arts education and eventually careers in 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.