Americans for the Arts today honored the Cheyenne River Youth Project’s groundbreaking RedCan invitational graffiti jam among 50 outstanding public arts projects created in 2018 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. Chosen by public art experts, the roster of selected projects was unveiled this morning at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in Minneapolis. This is the 18th year that Americans for the Arts has recognized public art works.

Now in its fifth year, RedCan remains Indian Country’s first and only graffiti jam, and it is the signature event for CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) 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,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “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.

“We’ve seen some really beautiful collaborative work since RedCan began in 2015,” she continued. “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.”

The 5th annual RedCan invitational graffiti jam is scheduled for June 19-22. RedCan 2019 will feature acclaimed returning artists Wundr, Ryoe, Cyfi, Sadat, Scape, Dwayno Insano, Siamese, Hoka, Biafra Inc., Tuke and DeKae, who will be painting in CRYP’s public Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park, as well as at select mural sites around Eagle Butte. The nonprofit youth organization also has arranged an exciting lineup of live performances, which will take place while the artists are painting in the art park. 

“The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate, and illuminate. Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns, and communities we inhabit and visit,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “As these Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate, public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. I congratulate the artists and commissioning groups for these community treasures, and I look forward to honoring more great works in the years to come.”

The projects selected for Year in Review can be viewed on this page and will be displayed throughout the annual convention. Two independent public art experts—artist Seitu Jones of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Aaron Ott, Curator of Public Art at Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York—discussed the trends they uncovered while examining hundreds of submissions in selecting this year’s choices for the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2018. 

The complete presentation, which includes photos and descriptions of all 50 projects, will be available for purchase through Americans for the Arts’ store. 

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, it has a record of more than 55 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at

For information about this year’s RedCan invitational graffiti jam, 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 (@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.