Once again, RedCan is rising on the South Dakota prairie: Just a little over a month from now, artists, musicians and performers from across the country will converge at the Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte for the 5th annual RedCan invitational graffiti jam. In preparation for this eagerly anticipated celebration of graffiti culture and Lakota culture, CRYP has just released a 2019 teaser trailer and its official lineup of invited guests.

RedCan 2019 will feature acclaimed returning artists East, Wundr, Ryoe, Cyfi, Sadat, Scape, Dwayno Insano, Siamese, Hoka, Biafra Inc., Tuke and DeKae. All 12 artists will be painting in CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park, as well as at select mural sites around Eagle Butte, but they’re doing something a little different this summer.

“For this year’s RedCan, our artists will be painting their murals around the community on June 19-20,” says Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Then, on June 21-22, we’ll bring everyone together to paint in the park. In the past, artists worked in both locations across all four days, so this is an exciting change for all of us.

“The artists have told us they love painting in a high-energy environment,” she continues. “On RedCan’s final two days, that’s exactly what the art park will be. Not only will the artists be drawing inspiration and energy from each other, they’ll also be surrounded by traditional dancers, talented performers, young people exploring their own creativity, and so much more.”

During RedCan 2019, DJ Micah, Gunner Jules, Let It Bee and the Sampson Brothers all will be appearing on the Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park outdoor stage. RedCan attendees also may enjoy art classes at the First Peoples Fund’s Rolling Rez Arts bus, martial arts instruction from the Full Circle Martial Arts Academy, and a traditional Lakota dance exhibition.

What’s more, local artists will have opportunities to paint alongside the featured artists, exchanging ideas and sharing techniques along the way. According to Garreau, this has been a highlight of the graffiti jam in recent years.

“We’ve seen some really beautiful collaborative work,” she says. “We’ve also seen lifelong friendships develop, which is profoundly moving to all of us. At its heart, RedCan is about connection as well as cultural exchange. It’s about building relationships, and strengthening the bonds between cultures—and with each other.”

RedCan remains Indian Country’s first and only graffiti jam, and it is the signature event for CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute. RedCan gives Cheyenne River’s young people, and the community at large, an unparalleled opportunity to experience the contemporary graffiti art movement, and in the process, learn how to express themselves and tell their own stories in a culturally relevant and healthy way.

“Art has transformative healing power,” Garreau says. “As Lakota people, we have always known this. For us, art is life. That’s why we’re dedicated to bringing RedCan to Cheyenne River each summer.

“That’s also why we’re asking our friends and supporters to join us in helping to make RedCan 2019 a reality,” she continues. “We’re deeply grateful to ArtPlace America, the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Bush Foundation, the Santa Fe Tobacco Company, Dope Paint and All Day Supply for their support, as well as to the many individuals across the country and even around the world who are helping us cover the costs associated with an event this size, from painting supplies to meals.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the RedCan fundraiser, click here. All proceeds will be used to purchase paint, artist supplies, food and beverages, and to help cover the artists’ travel expenses.

The public is welcome to attend RedCan, and all events and activities are free. Lodging is available at area motels; since rooms do tend to book out quickly, CRYP is offering camping for up to 100 people at its East Lincoln Street campus. 

For information about this year’s RedCan invitational graffiti jam, and to watch the new teaser trailer, please visit www.lakotayouth.org/redcan, where you also can view video documentaries and photo galleries from the first four annual events, bios for featured artists and special guests, and more. In the coming weeks, CRYP will be sharing more information about planned activities and performances through the website and social media—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.