With less than a month to go before the award-winning RedCan invitational graffiti jam, the Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced the final lineup of artists and special guests for its four-day arts and culture festival. In addition, the CRYP staff has revealed that the in-person event will include live performances, a groundbreaking ceremony for the youth project’s new art center, and youth activities at two community locations.

RedCan 2021 artists include East, Biafra Inc. Wundr, Ryoe, Cyfi, Hoka, Scribe, 179, Siamese, Lawst, Lucid, Tsel, and Therd. During the first two days of RedCan, July 7-8, the artists will be collaborating at a single painting site in downtown Eagle Butte.

“We’ve never done this before,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Instead of painting individual murals around our city, the artists will be working on a massive community art project at two vacant apartment buildings on Main Street. 

“The dilapidated buildings have become an eyesore,” she continued. “We’re so excited to transform them, using them as canvases to share our rich Lakota language and stories. It’s our way of lifting up our community, strengthening the connection we have to our culture, and reclaiming what’s ours — our home.”

On the final two days of RedCan, July 9-10, the creative energy will move into CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park. There, community members can watch the artists paint while also enjoying Lakota dance exhibitions, youth art activities, field-day games, and community meals.

According to Garreau, community members and visitors also are invited to be part of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute’s new home. The groundbreaking for CRYP’s new youth art center is scheduled for 12 p.m. on Friday, July 9 in the art park; it will include a light lunch and cake.

Special guests are on deck as well. Local drum group Wakinyan Maza and DJ Micah Prairie Chicken will be returning to RedCan, along with acclaimed hoop dancers and storytellers Lumhe and Samsoche Sampson, better known as the Sampson Brothers. 

Wakinyan Maza will open and close each day of RedCan with a drum song and blessing. DJ Micah will spin tunes in the art park, and the Sampson Brothers will host a special performance for the community on Saturday evening.

What’s more, volunteer groups from Ohio’s Ursuline College and the University of Missouri-St. Louis will provide “make and take” art activities for kids at Eagle Butte’s downtown movie theater and in CRYP’s art park. Kids will learn to create felt storyboards and characters, faux stained-glass images, bubble painting, Sharpie tie-dye shirts, finger puppets, board games, and more.

“As always, we’ll have opportunities for our youth to paint skateboards as well, and create their own pieces in the art park,” said Jerica Widow, youth programs director. “We’re also thrilled that the First Peoples’ Fund’s Rolling Rez Arts will be offering art workshops with virtual instruction through Zoom.”

Garreau and Widow both noted that CRYP staff and volunteers will be taking every precaution to make sure this year’s RedCan is a safe one for the Cheyenne River community. All public activities will be held outdoors, and in spaces where physical distancing is not possible, masking protocols will be in place.

“We’re deeply grateful to our partners and volunteer,” Garreau said. “RedCan simply wouldn’t be possible without them. Philámayeye.”

For more information about RedCan 2021, visit lakotayouth.org/redcan. CRYP will share schedule and event updates through the website and through its social media channels.

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.