Art is not a stand-alone concept for Lakota people. We’ve always expressed ourselves through art. It’s an integral part of our lives. Art is culture, and it’s deeply connected to community, so maintaining those connections and making them stronger is critical for us.
We are dedicated to working with our young people to re-establish and strengthen their connections to Lakota traditions, stories, values and authentic culture identity. We must give them as many opportunities as possible to explore their identities and share their truths, from their own deeply personal struggles to their nation’s experiences with conflict. We also seek to share arts-related opportunities with them, from advanced education to professional development. That’s the only way to foster real healing, and to provide a vibrant and more secure future.
That’s why the Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Arts Institute felt like an intuitive fit for us. Our institute, which we officially launched in September 2016, has been a natural evolution of our existing arts programming, which incorporates the free, public Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park and Art Walk, the annual RedCan graffiti jam, and an extensive, innovative art internship program.
EXPLORE WANIYETU WOWAPI LAKOTA ARTS INSTITUTE
Classes and Workshops
The Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Arts Institute currently offers programming in fine art, graffiti and street art, and traditional Lakota arts. Our long-term vision includes music and movement, commercial arts, full internships/peer mentor program. Learn more about the Classes and Workshops offered.
The Waniyetu Wowapo Lakota Arts Institute instructors include both national and local/traditional artists. Learn more about the instructors.
The Cheyenne River community chose the name for CRYP’s free, public art park, christening it “Waniyetu Wowapi.” Translated from Lakota, it means “Winter Count”—a year period, from snow to snow, written on something flat. The winter count is how the Lakota Nation traditionally recorded its history, so it was a fitting name for our 5-acre park. Learn more about the Art Spaces.
RedCan Graffiti Jam
Graffiti jams were designed to introduce graffiti as an art form, bringing together people who exemplify the contemporary graffiti art movement and how it has evolved since its inception a half century ago. In the case of RedCan, not only are 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 Lakota artists to infuse graffiti with their own culture, identities and stories. Learn more about the RedCan Graffiti Jam.