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Art Internship Program

March Hall of Fame: Genevieve Iron Lightning

When the Cheyenne River Youth Project designed its innovative teen internship program, it created four distinct internship areas to appeal to a diverse range of interests. Yet staff members are discovering that many teens choose to participate in all of them. Once the kids start learning, it seems, they don’t want to stop.

Genevieve Iron Lightning, 16, is one of those kids. She has participated in all four internships—sustainable agriculture, social enterprise, art, and wellness—and she says she appreciates the many different skills she has acquired through those opportunities.

“In the Keya Cafe, I liked making drinks and stocking the pastries and desserts,” she recalls. “The social enterprise internship taught me a lot of customer service skills, like how to address people and deal with issues.

“I also liked learning about public speaking,” she says of her internship experiences at CRYP. “I’m very vocal already, so it’s helpful to learn how to really draw people into what you’re saying.”

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    Attention, Teens: Come to Midnight Basketball and Learn More About CRYP’s Internship Program!

Attention, Teens: Come to Midnight Basketball and Learn More About CRYP’s Internship Program!

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® is inviting local youth to attend Midnight Basketball at the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center on Friday, Feb. 24 and Thursday, Mar. 2. Not only will 13- to 18-year-olds have the always-welcome opportunity to play their favorite sport and hang out with friends, they’ll be able to learn more about the nonprofit youth organization’s innovative teen internship program.

On these two evenings, Midnight Basketball will incorporate a recruitment station where teens can get more information about upcoming internships in wellness, sustainable agriculture, social enterprise and the arts.

“We’re looking forward to meeting with kids who might not be fully aware of what we offer here,” said Tammy Granados, CRYP’s youth programs director. “Through the internship program, teens can earn their own money, earn valuable certifications, and gain real-life job experience.”

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    Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Arts Institute Takes Shape; CRYP Seeks Artistic Director and Lakota Mentors/Teachers

Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Arts Institute Takes Shape; CRYP Seeks Artistic Director and Lakota Mentors/Teachers

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® is moving ahead quickly with its plans for the innovative new Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Arts Institute. Not only has it embarked on a widespread search for a full-time artistic director to manage LAI operations and Lakota artists to serve as instructors and youth mentors, it is already hosting art classes focused on traditional Lakota crafts and is laying the groundwork for additional classes and camps.

The nonprofit youth organization has offered arts instruction to 4- to 12-year-olds throughout its nearly 30-year history, and to teens for the last decade. Now, thanks to grants from the ArtPlace America National Creative Placemaking Fund and NEA Our Town Technical Assistance, CRYP finally has the resources to realize its vision of a multidisciplinary, community-based arts institute at its Eagle Butte campus.

In the beginning, LAI will continue to support students in graffiti and street art education, a process that began more than two years ago with dedicated art classes and the inaugural RedCan graffiti jam. It also will teach traditional art skills, such as drawing and painting, and it will place a high priority on traditional Lakota arts.

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Art Interns Learn Traditional Lakota Arts This Fall

This fall, interns at the Cheyenne River Youth Project® had the opportunity to learn traditional Lakota arts at the nonprofit organization’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center. Classes, which included hide tanning and jewelry making, were made possible through a First Nations Youth & Culture Fund grant from the First Nations Development Institute.

Thirteen teen interns attended the hide-tanning class. On the first day, they scraped a deer hide to remove all the fur, boiled the brains, and learned the process of brain tanning. The next day, they scraped the brains off the deer hide, and then they rubbed and worked the hide until it was soft.

Nineteen interns attended the jewelry-making class. They painted on buckskin and learned to fashion the material into bracelets, necklaces and rings.

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CRYP Graduates 184 Teen Interns

In the nearly three years since the Cheyenne River Youth Project® launched its innovative teen internship program at the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center, 184 teenagers have completed internships in sustainable agriculture, social enterprise, wellness and art. Not only have these young people gained valuable skills that will serve them well all their lives, they are having a lasting impact on the Cheyenne River reservation’s economy.

For CRYP, it’s all about the development of the Lakota workforce—and building healthy, resilient, well-rounded adults in the process. Since 2014, the nonprofit youth organization has invested $36,950 in Cheyenne River’s teenagers, providing instruction, mentorship, workshops, certifications, real-life job experience and wages. According to Julie Garreau, executive director, that’s making a difference on more than one level.

“When the kids earn their own money, they’re able to buy things they need,” Garreau explained. “Even more importantly, they’re thinking about how to earn more money, and about their own futures. One teen used his stipend to buy a lawn mower and started providing local lawn-care services. Others have purchased musical equipment. It’s really exciting to see that.”

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September Hall of Fame: Randi Little Star

In the years since we launched our Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s internship programs, we’ve learned two very important things. Cheyenne River’s teens crave opportunities to learn new job and life skills, and they welcome mentorships that inspire them and encourage them to imagine all the possibilities for the future.

Some of these teens desire and appreciate these experiences so much, they sign up for every internship we offer. Randi Little Star, 16, is one of them. This active 10th-grader has completed Sustainable Agriculture, Social Enterprise and Wellness internships, and she’s currently working her way through the Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Teen Arts Internship.

“I signed up for all the internships because I like helping people, and I really wanted to gain more experience in all these different areas,” Randi says. “I’d like to do even more, because I enjoy the tasks, and I love learning new things every day.”

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    2nd & 3rd Cohorts of Teen Art Interns Prepare for Upcoming RedCan Exhibition

2nd & 3rd Cohorts of Teen Art Interns Prepare for Upcoming RedCan Exhibition

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that its second and third cohorts of teen art interns are preparing a formal exhibition of their work, which will be open to the public. Their artwork will be on display from Wednesday, July 6 to Saturday, July 9 in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s classroom.

CRYP is inviting all the interns’ families to attend a special opening reception and honoring ceremony at Cokata Wiconi on Wednesday evening, which also is the first night of the eagerly anticipated RedCan graffiti jam. Guests may view the teens’ framed artwork and enjoy refreshments while mingling with youth project staff and visiting artists.

Also on hand will be Peyton Scott Russell from Minnesota’s Twin Cities, a returning RedCan artist and the lead instructor for CRYP’s innovative, 18-month-old art internship program. This comprehensive program gives Cheyenne River teens the opportunity to build their skills in a variety of artistic disciplines, including traditional art, graffiti art, and street art.

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    Scape Martinez Will Lead Summer Graffiti Art Education Camp on June 27-30

Scape Martinez Will Lead Summer Graffiti Art Education Camp on June 27-30

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that acclaimed San Jose, California-based artist and writer Scape Martinez will lead a summer graffiti art education camp at its Eagle Butte campus from Monday, June 27 to Thursday, June 30. Martinez has chosen the theme “Creativity is Contagious” for the four-day, hands-on, intensive multimedia and graffiti art camp, which is open to all teens.

The camp will begin with the basic principles of graffiti art—letters, names, words and their modification. Through lessons and prompts, Martinez will encourage the students to explore their own identities and creativity in a safe, supportive environment, and the teens will have the opportunity to discuss their work, exchange ideas and offer respectful, reassuring critiques.

“This is an important opportunity for our teen interns to take their arts education and skills to the next level,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “These are intensive sessions. Each session is five hours, and the interns will receive a rigorous arts education in a truly salon-style environment. And, not only will they continue to find their own unique voices and methods of expressing themselves, they’ll take part in group discussion, research and critique, which are all important parts of the process for art students and working artists.”

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    CRYP is a Finalist for ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund

CRYP is a Finalist for ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that it is a finalist for ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund. The nonprofit, grassroots youth organization is one of just 80 projects to be selected from a pool of nearly 1,400 applications.

ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking—projects in which art plays an intention and integrated role in place-based community planning and development. According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, this focus aligns well with the youth project’s own mission on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Lakota reservation.

“We have always believed strongly in a holistic approach to individual wellness and community development,” Garreau explained. “We also know that solutions to local challenges must be rooted in the local community. They must be culturally appropriate and relevant, and they must take into account that community’s unique challenges and opportunities.”

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April Hall of Fame: Sapphire Lucero

When the Cheyenne River Youth Project opened the doors to its Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center 10 years ago, staff members envisioned that the 26,000-square-foot facility would become a true center of life in the Cheyenne River community. And, they hoped teens would use the center and its offerings to find their true passions, their authentic voices and a variety of healthy, culturally relevant ways to move effectively toward achieving their dreams.

That’s exactly what Cokata Wiconi has done for young people like Sapphire Lucero, 14. Sapphire has been attending CRYP programs and events since 2012; and, while she enjoys hanging out with friends in the teen center and the Keya Cafe, she also has become an accomplished teen art intern.

“I wanted to get better at art,” she explains. “I thought this would be a great opportunity.”

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