EAGLE BUTTE, SD — The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced a significant expansion in programming at its Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute. This expansion has added a prerequisite course and a full arts fellowship to the Waniyetu Wowapi curriculum.
Starting this spring, art students will be able to take a three-week “Arts Basics” course, which serves as a prerequisite for an arts internship.
The course includes sketching and drawing; painting; Lakota arts, such as traditional geometric shapes, symbolism and traditional materials; and a selection of core classes, including CPR and First Aid.
According to CRYP Executive Director Julie Garreau, this prerequisite course will be helpful to students and instructors alike.
“Until now, anyone could be admitted into our teen arts internship program, even without prior experience,” she explains.
“That meant we had classes filled with students who were at different skill levels. Now, the students will all have the same foundation, and the instructors will know exactly where they can begin with the internship coursework.”
Once teens have completed Art Basics, they are eligible to apply for the three-month arts internship. The internship incorporates a variety of opportunities for young people to explore the creative process, create pieces that represent who they are and share their stories, and ultimately exhibit their work in a public showcase.
The teens will learn graffiti art, digital arts, traditional arts, sculpture and pottery, stenciling, graphic arts and screen printing. In addition, they’ll have opportunities to learn more about the business side of art, with classes that include public speaking, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and merchandising.
What’s more, they’ll explore the impact of public art and discover how art can foster healing in communities.
“We’re very pleased with the internship structure, as our teens will be building the skill set they’ll need to take their arts education to the next level,” Garreau says. “Once they complete an internship, they’re eligible to apply for a fellowship.”
The nine-month arts fellowship is all about exploration and development. It also is the final step in an art student’s journey at CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute.
“The fellowship offers an opportunity for art students to pick the path they are most interested in and really focus on that,” Garreau says.
“We’ll match each arts fellow with a mentor, who will help the student navigate the fellowship coursework and studio time.
“We want these kids to envision a future in which they and their art are thriving,” she continues. “We want to give them every opportunity to travel—and to think big.”
The three-week Art Basics course is available to students this spring, with three-month art internships available during the summer months.
The nine-month fellowship will kick off in September and run through May 2020; its first cohort will comprise four to six serious art students.