The Cheyenne River Youth Project announced today that it is seeking a full-time youth arts director to oversee programming at its Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute. The new director will take over from Tyler Read, who has been in the role since 2019.

In the last 12 months, Read has shepherded Waniyetu Wowapi through several cohorts of teen art internships, the inaugural Lakota Art Fellowship, and a wide variety of art-related classes, camps and contests. In addition, he has been leading the CRYP team responsible for bringing the award-winning RedCan invitational graffiti jam to life — no small task during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“With the arrival of Covid-19, we had to make the decision to either cancel RedCan 2020 altogether or find a way to reimagine it,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “I’m so proud of our staff and partners, because not only will we be hosting RedCan safely, we’ll be doing it in such a way that we’re bringing RedCan to our artists’ home communities. That’s so exciting for all of us, and for Cheyenne River.”

Read, who is departing for family reasons, said he’s looking forward to leaving CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi in capable hands. He noted that the youth arts director role is a dynamic one, offering unique opportunities for the right candidate.

“Lakota youth have an intuitive understanding of art’s technical aspects, because in Lakota culture, art is life,” Read explained. “They’re immersed in it, growing up surrounded by traditional arts as well as large public murals. This makes the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation different than other places I’ve taught.

“I used to dream about opening up an art history book and reading about a great emergence of Lakota murals that began here,” he continued. “Now I see it actually happening, and I’m deeply honored that I’ve had this time with CRYP—and with these kids. Cheyenne River’s children are leading what has become a movement, one that empowers people and communities through art.”

CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute is a multidisciplinary, community-based arts initiative that seeks to strengthen the connection of Lakota youth and the Cheyenne River community to traditional culture and life ways through art. It incorporates the teen art internship program, the Lakota Art Fellowship, community classes and events, the annual RedCan invitational graffiti jam, and the groundbreaking Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park, which is open free to the public.

“Our ideal youth arts director candidate will have a positive, forward-looking attitude and collaborative spirit,” Garreau said. “He or she will be creative and resourceful, an outstanding motivator, and a well-organized supervisor who, on a daily basis, will be working with artists, partners, and staff members on program and curriculum development, school and community outreach, classroom and group management, and artistic production.”

Reflecting on more than 30 years with the youth project, Garreau observed that working with CRYP is not simply a job. Rather, it becomes part of who you are.

“Everyone here is dedicated to nonprofit work and is truly committed to the Cheyenne River community,” she said. “No matter what the situation is, we always put our community’s needs first, knowing it will be challenging sometimes but also understanding that every single thing we do has a meaningful, lasting impact in the lives of our children.”

Candidates interested in the art director position should contact Garreau directly at (605) 964-8200 or via e-mail at

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 And, 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.