The Cheyenne River Youth Project announced that it will host a special edition of its annual RedCan invitational graffiti jam this summer. Scheduled for Aug. 12-15, RedCan will incorporate an innovative virtual component as well as a variety of youth art activities at CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park.
In mid-May, CRYP postponed its 6th annual RedCan event due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It soon became clear to staff, however, that the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation community needs RedCan — perhaps this year more than ever.
“We created RedCan to form a bridge between Lakota culture and graffiti culture. Over the years, we learned that RedCan does so much more than that. It educates and inspires our youth. It brings families together. It strengthens the connections we have with our Lakota culture, and it lifts up our entire community. As we face this unprecedented crisis, our Lakota Nation needs RedCan’s good energy and powerful medicine, and we want to take it to the rest of the country as well,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director.
To that end, CRYP is working closely with its partners to create a virtual RedCan experience, one that allows audiences around the world to connect with CRYP while also connecting with the invited artists in their home communities. Each artist will create a print that is available for purchase, and then he or she will paint a RedCan mural that will be shared through live streaming broadcasts over multiple days.
“We’re so grateful that our RedCan artists are eager to support us in this new format. RedCan fans will see a lot of familiar faces, as well as a few new ones,” Garreau said.
Select artists will participate in interviews about their RedCan experiences, provide mentoring to local youth, and offer online classes. Not all classes and activities will be online, however.
“Our kids look forward to RedCan every year, and we’re dedicated to giving them those experiences in a safe way that adheres to all public health guidelines. Right now, we’re looking at activities like painting with spray chalk; painting and stenciling skateboards; and making your own ice cream, knotted pillows, Orbeez stress balls, and kinetic sand,” said Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director.
Garreau advised that more information about participating artists and scheduled activities will be available in the coming weeks.
“We’re excited about this year’s RedCan, although it will look different than we thought,” she said. “Creative flourishing often results from trauma. In times of great challenge, difficulty, and stress, we tap into our innate creative energy, which we all have as human beings. And together, we rise. At its heart, that’s what RedCan is all about.”
For information about RedCan, and to watch the 2019 RedCan documentary film, please visit www.lakotayouth.org/redcan; you’ll also be able to view video documentaries and photo galleries from previous years, bios for featured artists and special guests, and more.