RedCan 2017: CRYP Releases New Details and Teaser Trailer

RedCan is rising: This summer, graffiti artists from around the world will converge once again in a small town on the South Dakota prairie for a groundbreaking, one-of-a-kind arts celebration: the third annual RedCan graffiti jam at the Cheyenne River Youth Project®. The nonprofit organization has just launched a new teaser trailer for RedCan 2017, available here on the CRYP website and on YouTube.

The RedCan gathering, scheduled for June 29-July 1 at CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park and at sites throughout the Eagle Butte community, is unlike any other public graffiti event in the country. Here, on the remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Lakota reservation, graffiti culture and Lakota culture come together in an explosion of culture, artistic innovation and creativity, and multicultural fellowship.

Featured artists this year are Estria from Hawaii; East from Denver; Serval from Switzerland; Scribe from Kansas City, Missouri; Scape Martinez from San Francisco; Kazilla and ER from Miami; Dwayno Insano from Tucson, Arizona; and Biafra Inc., Cyfi and Wundr from Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

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CRYP Schedules Community Activities to Celebrate Earth Day

For the team at the Cheyenne River Youth Project®, a strong connection to the earth means a strong connection to traditional Lakota life ways, a critical component to holistic wellness and healing. That’s why Earth Day is a significant date on the CRYP calendar, and the nonprofit youth project is already gearing up for a weekend of special activities.

On Saturday, April 22, CRYP will host an eight-team, double-elimination basketball tournament for grades 6-8 in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s full-size gymnasium. The tournament is a CRYP fundraiser, so all proceeds from the $10 entry fee will support youth programming and services; each team can have up to 10 players and must wear like-colored shirts or jerseys to participate in the competition, with medals and prizes for first through third place.

The tournament will incorporate half-time spectator challenges and raffle tickets for a 50/50 drawing. Doors open at 8:30 a.m., and the tournament will begin promptly at 9 a.m.

Also that day, CRYP will lead a series of special Earth Day activities. Starting at 8:30 a.m., CRYP will lead a “March for Science,” which focuses on the effects of global warming. Staff members also will lead a trash pick-up effort in the community, followed by a grill party outside The Main youth center on East Lincoln Street. These events are open free to the public, and guests of all ages will be able to participate in a variety of outdoor fitness and sports challenges.

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RedCan is a Final Nominee for the Robert E. Gard Award

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that its RedCan graffiti jam is one of just 10 finalists for the prestigious Robert E. Gard Award this year. This award, which celebrates exemplary work at the intersection of the arts and community life, is one of seven national awards given out each year by Americans for the Arts.

“We’re honored that our RedCan graffiti jam is being considered for this award,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We launched RedCan in 2015 as a way to expose our young people and our entire community to the world of graffiti and street art, and to provide them with new tools to explore their identity, share their stories, find their unique voice and pursue healing. We couldn’t have known how deeply this merging of Lakota culture and graffiti culture would resonate, nor how the event would grow in just two short years.”

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CRYP Launches Dress Drive for 2017 Passion for Fashion

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has officially launched its 2017 Dress Drive for Passion for Fashion. The nonprofit organization is asking its friends and supporters to donate everything from dresses to hair accessories so its young people can be ready for this spring’s high school prom.

On the surface, the prom is all about glamorous gowns and dashing tuxedos, fresh corsages and sparkling jewelry, popular music and lots of dancing. Underneath, however, this uniquely American rite of passage is about so much more—it’s a celebration of friendship, multigenerational bonding, and positive self-esteem.

Unfortunately, for too many teenagers on the Cheyenne River Lakota reservation and in neighboring rural towns, this vision can seem far from reality. Their families cannot spare the significant funds necessary for the latest formal wear and all the accessories, nor is it feasible for them to make the three- to five-hour round trip required to go shopping in distant Pierre or Rapid City.

Executive Director Julie Garreau, Youth Programs Director Tammy Granados and the rest of the CRYP staff firmly believe that Cheyenne River’s youth should have the same exciting, memorable prom experiences as those enjoyed by teens across America. To provide that experience, the grassroots youth project created Passion for Fashion in 2001.

“At its heart, Passion for Fashion has much in common with our more well-known Christmas Toy Drive,” Garreau said. “In both cases, our young people are simply amazed to see the miracle that unfolds at Cokata Wiconi. They feel how treasured they are, and they come to realize how many people truly do care.”

The 17th annual Passion for Fashion event is scheduled for 1-6 p.m. on Saturday, March 25 at Cokata Wiconi. For the ninth year in a row, it will feature a special theme.

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2017 Passion for Fashion: How to Help

If you would like to support the Cheyenne River Youth Project’s 2017 Dress Drive for Passion for Fashion, please considering contributing any of the following:

-New/Gently Used Formal Dresses (Sizes 4-26, especially sizes 16-26)
-Dress Accessories (Examples: Purses, Wraps, Scarves)
-Formal Shoes (especially sizes 9-12)
-Hair Accessories & Care Products
-Facial, Manicure and Pedicure Supplies
-Makeup and Bath Sets
-Gift Cards
-Cash Donations

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    Together, We Brought Santa Claus to More Than 1,300 Children

Together, We Brought Santa Claus to More Than 1,300 Children

It takes more than a Christmas blizzard to stop the Cheyenne River Youth Project®. Despite subzero temperatures, howling winter winds and mountainous snow drifts, the nonprofit youth organization still managed to bring Santa Claus to more than 1,300 excited children across South Dakota’s Cheyenne River Lakota reservation this year.

As always, volunteers from around the country and Europe converged on CRYP’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center, which had been transformed into a 24-7 Santa’s Workshop for the month of December. These dedicated helpers worked around the clock to sort and wrap thousands of gifts arriving from every corner of the United States.

These gifts came from long-standing partners like the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and Running Strong for American Indian Youth, both based in Virginia; the Spirit of Sovereignty Foundation in Minnesota; the St. Louis Chapter of CRYP in Missouri; and Fairview High School, student groups at CU-Boulder, Fredericks Peebles & Morgan law firm, the American Indian College Fund and Lennar Construction, all in Colorado. But they also came from generous individuals whose contributions arrived in many forms.

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    It’s Not Too Late: Help CRYP Fulfill Remaining 400+ Dear Santa Letters Before Christmas!

It’s Not Too Late: Help CRYP Fulfill Remaining 400+ Dear Santa Letters Before Christmas!

CRYP is reaching out to its supporters and friends this week in a final push to bring Santa Claus to more than 1,600 children on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Lakota reservation. According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, more than 400 “Dear Santa” letters remain to be adopted—with just five days left until Christmas.

Already, volunteers from across the United States and as far away as Ireland are converging on Santa’s Workshop at CRYP to sort and wrap thousands of gifts. These dedicated helpers work around the clock to ensure that each child will receive two or three gifts from his or her personal letter, as well as much-needed winter clothing and shoes.

The good news is that it’s not too late to help.

“At this point in December, there’s no question that donations are down over previous years,” Garreau said. “That being said, we know from experience that incredible things can happen in the last few days before the holiday.

“Supporters absolutely can contact us to adopt letters, if they would like to fulfill the children’s Christmas wishes and send the gifts to our campus in Eagle Butte,” she continued. “If it’s easier, however, simply click the ‘Donate’ button on our website and make an online contribution. It’s fully tax deductible, and we’ll do the shopping on our end to make sure all the children who wrote letters to Santa have the happy, joyful Christmas they so richly deserve.”

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Coming in 2017: The Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Arts Institute

The Cheyenne River Youth Project’s eagerly anticipated Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Arts Institute will fully take shape in the new year, thanks to just-announced funding from ArtPlace America’s 2016 National Creative Placemaking Fund. The nonprofit, grassroots youth organization is one of just 29 projects chosen, from a field of nearly 1,400 applicants.

ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund is a highly competitive national program —funding 2 percent of initial applications—that invests money in communities across the country in which artists, arts organizations, and arts and culture activity will help drive community development change in the sectors of agriculture and food; economic development; education and youth; environment and energy; health, housing; immigration; public safety; transportation; or workforce development.

“Creative Placemaking seeks the full and robust integration of arts, culture, and community-engaged design into the decisions that define the ebb and flow of community life. These grant recipients embody what this looks like at its most effective best,” said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation and chair of the ArtPlace President’s Council. “The sheer volume of applications for these grants suggests the growing updraft of creative placemaking efforts throughout the nation.”

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    Less Than Three Weeks Remain to Help CRYP Bring Santa to Cheyenne River

Less Than Three Weeks Remain to Help CRYP Bring Santa to Cheyenne River

Less than three weeks remain before Christmas Eve and the arrival of Santa Claus on the Cheyenne River Lakota reservation. More than 1,600 children are eagerly awaiting his sleigh, hoping to receive the special gifts they shared with him in their Dear Santa letters.

Bringing Christmas to hundreds of families in 20 communities across the remote, 2.8-million reservation is a massive undertaking. It’s a lot of gifts. But the toy drive is about so much more than that. For too many Cheyenne River families, household budgets simply cannot stretch to cover winter clothes, much less holiday gifts and all the seasonal trimmings and trappings. That can take its toll on children here, who don’t understand why Christmas magic seems to belong to so many others, but not to them.

Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director, recalled witnessing a little boy turn down the opportunity to tell Santa Claus what he wanted for Christmas.

“He said, ‘Why should I? I’m not going to get it anyway. I ask for it every year,’” she said. “That broke my heart, to see a child without hope—to see him discount the possibility that he might receive something precious to him, and that he might experience a heartfelt wish coming true. That’s why we work so hard at CRYP during the holiday season. Our children often have to grow up way too fast due to circumstances beyond their control. On Christmas, at least for one day, they should get to celebrate the joy of just being a kid.”

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    Coming Up: Holiday Artists’ Market and “Festival of Trees” on November 20!

Coming Up: Holiday Artists’ Market and “Festival of Trees” on November 20!

On Sunday, November 20, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® will open the doors to its Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center for a very special annual event: the Holiday Artists’ Market. For the sixth consecutive year, the nonprofit youth organization will host community artisans, craftspeople, chefs and bakers as they make their wares available to the public in festive holiday environment.

What’s more, the Holiday Artists’ Market officially will kick off CRYP’s annual “Festival of Trees.” Up to 30 organizations are welcome to decorate holiday trees at Cokata Wiconi; the trees will remain on display throughout the holiday season.

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