It’s been a thrilling month for the Cheyenne River Youth Project. Not only did the 26-year-old, not-for-profit, grassroots youth organization host the groundbreaking RedCan graffiti jam and graduate its first cohort of teen art interns, it earned a $100,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
According to NEA Chairman Jane Chu, CRYP was one of 275 applicants for this year’s Our Town awards, and it’s one of 69 award recipients nationwide. The grant program is designed to support creative place-making projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful and resilient places — with the arts at their core.
It’s a perfect fit for CRYP. In just one year, the innovative youth project has launched an ongoing teen arts internship program; dedicated its 3.5-acre Waniyetu Wowapi (“Winter Count”) Art Park, which is open free to the public; and created the nationally recognized RedCan graffiti jam, in which acclaimed artists from around the country converged on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation for an unprecedented merging of graffiti culture and Lakota culture.