The Cheyenne River Youth Project announced today that its award-winning RedCan invitational graffiti jam will be back as a live, in-person event this summer. The nonprofit youth organization also revealed that 10 popular RedCan artists will be returning, and an exciting new artistic collaboration awaits.
According to Executive Director Julie Garreau, the following artists have confirmed they will return for RedCan on July 7-10: East from Denver; Biafra Inc., Wundr, Ryoe, and Cyfi from Minneapolis; Hoka from Albuquerque; Dwayno Insano from Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community, Arizona; Scribe from Kansas City, Missouri; 179 from Seattle; and Siamese from Rapid City, South Dakota.
“We’re honored to welcome these talented artists, who have become part of our extended CRYP family, back to Cheyenne River,” Garreau said. “And, because RedCan is always expanding and evolving, we’re looking forward to announcing a few new guest artists in the weeks to come.”
While the artists will be painting in CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park as always, they’re going to be doing something new in the streets of Eagle Butte. Instead of producing individual murals, the artists will collaborate on a massive community art project on Main Street.
“We have gotten permission from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to paint two vacant apartment buildings that stand in a prominent location,” Garreau explained. “We’re so excited, because we’ve never done anything like this at RedCan.”
Not only will members of the community be able to watch the artists at work, they also may attend a special groundbreaking ceremony for CRYP’s new Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute, as well as community meals, live music and cultural performances, and youth art workshops. All public activities will be held in the Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park.
“We’re taking every precaution to make sure this year’s RedCan event is a safe one for our relatives, community, and guests,” said Dawn E. LeBeau, CRYP’s deputy director. “We’ll be holding our public activities — from our drum circles and community feeds to our public painting and youth art activities — outside in the fresh air. In spaces where we cannot ensure physical distancing, we’ll be masking.”
During this year’s RedCan, CRYP staff will receive support from two volunteer groups, one from Ohio’s Ursuline College and another from St. Louis, Missouri.
“We’re grateful to our volunteers, who do so much to make all of this possible,” Garreau said. “RedCan is so important to our community, perhaps now more than ever. We need to lift each other up and celebrate the restorative power of creativity, culture and, above all, hope.
“As Lakota people, we understand that it’s through connection that we find reconciliation and healing,” she continued. “RedCan builds and strengthens those connections, and after such a difficult year, it’s time for us to gather together once again.”
CRYP created the award-winning RedCan invitational graffiti jam in 2015 so Native cultures and graffiti culture could come together in unexpected and inspiring ways. Not only are RedCan artists showcasing a global movement, its relevance, and how to be part of it, they’re connecting the graffiti world with the indigenous one, allowing native artists to infuse graffiti with their own culture, identities and stories.
They also are providing meaningful, lasting inspiration to Cheyenne River’s young people. Through graffiti art, youth are exploring their identities, finding their voices, sharing their stories, and expressing themselves in positive, healthy ways. And the nation has taken notice: RedCan earned Americans for the Arts’ prestigious Robert E. Gard Award in 2017, and two years later, it was recognized through Americans for the Arts’ PAN Year in Review.
“In the last seven years, we’ve gone from a test project with a single mural and some youth graffiti-lettering classes to a four-day arts and culture festival that drew nearly 1,600 people in 2019, and reached thousands around the world during live broadcasts from eight U.S. cities in 2020,” Garreau said. “We’ve seen our longtime dream come to life, and with the return of RedCan this year and the building of our new youth art center, we can’t wait to see what comes next.”
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 www.lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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.