Published August 5, 2019
EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. — The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced that its executive director, Julie Garreau, is now a member of Arts South Dakota’s board of directors. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization is dedicated to enriching the lives of South Dakotans and their visitors by advancing the arts through service, education and advocacy.
This is a mission that resonates with Garreau. She and her CRYP team are committed to enriching the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation through the arts, and that begins with the community’s young people.
“CRYP has always been dedicated to giving our kids access to the opportunities they might not otherwise have, growing up in a rural reservation community,” she explains. “In the last few years, we recognized the critical importance of also providing access to the arts. Through our Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute, our kids can express themselves, share their stories, explore their creativity, pursue their artistic passions, and learn to appreciate art in all its forms—from traditional Lakota arts to contemporary graffiti and street art.”
Garreau says she remains committed to creating culturally relevant, sustainable and effective programming that meets the evolving needs of Cheyenne River’s children and engages community members of all ages. Waniyetu Wowapi offers an innovative arts internship program that teaches valuable artistic, job and life skills and invites accomplished artists to serve as guest instructors. An Arts Basics course prepares young people for the internships, and this fall, CRYP will introduce a robust arts fellowship as well.
Waniyetu Wowapi also includes a free public art park and the annual RedCan invitational graffiti jam, the only such event in Indian Country. In 2017, RedCan won the prestigious Robert E. Gard Award from Americans for the Arts, and in 2019, it was one of 50 projects honored through that distinguished organization’s PAN Year in Review program.
“I am both humbled and honored to be able to do this work, and I certainly couldn’t do it alone,” Garreau says. “Our staff and volunteers continually go above and beyond their call of duty to serve our kids and our community, and I’m deeply grateful to them for joining together with me. CRYP is all of us, together, as we seek to build whole, healthy kids who become well-rounded adults—and the Lakota Nation’s next generation of leaders and culture bearers.”