On April 18-20, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® welcomed
the First Peoples Funds' Rolling Rez Arts mobile unit to the Cheyenne
River Lakota Nation. Visiting artist Wade Patton and First Peoples
Fund Coordinator Bryan Parker spent three evenings with the nonprofit
youth organization's teen arts interns, providing valuable instruction
in multiple mediums.
On the first evening, the interns cut up pages from a ledger
book and constructed a collage. Then, they either painted or used
pastels to create unique visuals incorporating the ledger paper.
The teens blended old ledger paper with contemporary images
and ideas, said Julie Garreau, CRYP's executive director.
It was fascinating to see the beautiful and interesting ways
they bridged the gap between the old and the new.
I liked using old ledger paper, which was made in 1928,
said intern Genevieve Iron Lightning. I wanted to take some
On the second and third evenings, the instructors gave the interns
the choice: to work with pastels to create original artwork, or
to finish their ledger projects. They encouraged the young people
to use any type of medium they liked, from acrylic paints and pastels
to markers and colored pencils. Many interns chose to complete both
types of projects.
The teens were very focused on completing their projects,
and they asked a lot of questions, Garreau noted. The
Rolling Rez Arts visit was a wonderful opportunity for them to learn,
experiment with new mediums and techniques, and explore their creativity.
Patton also told the interns about a U.S. Department of the
Interior art contest with the theme We Are Still Here,
which he highly recommended. As a result, young artists Dawnelle
Garter and Daniel Semon, will be entering their oil pastel pieces.
I'm excited to work with the oil pastels, Garter
said. They're my favorite. I like the way they feel, and it's
relaxing to blend the colors.
Intern Sunni Dupris enjoyed working with the oil pastels as
well. I liked it just as much as spray painting, she
Finally, the interns had the opportunity to see the inside of
the Rolling Rez Arts bus and learn more about how this innovative
mobile unit serves native communities.
Bryan led us on a tour of the bus and explained how it
takes art to communities that don't have access to arts events locallyor
access to the transportation they would need to travel to such events,
Garreau said. He also explained how the Rolling Rez Arts bus
serves as a mobile banking unit twice each month; and once a month,
it travels to outlying communities to buy art from local artists,
help them promote their work, and support them in gaining entrepreneurial
Rolling Rez Arts made its first appearance on South Dakota's
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in fall 2015. Its mission is to deliver
art, business, retail and banking services that, until now, have
been inaccessible to many of the artists and culture bearers who
live and work in these remote reservation areas.
The mobile art space was made possible by First Peoples Fund,
Artspace, Lakota Funds, Lakota Federal Credit Union, and a variety
of nonprofit partners and foundation supporters. All were dedicated
to infusing new energy into the creative economy in native communities.
CRYP will welcome Rolling Rez Arts back to its Eagle Butte campus
in late June for the third annual RedCan graffiti jam, which is
scheduled for June 29-July 1 this year.
To stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow
the youth project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
River Youth Project
The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots,
not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of
the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure
future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring
programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient
families and communities.