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EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. — The Cheyenne River Youth Project is using the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on children as a learning experience where they can express their feelings through art.

This week, the youth organization announced it is hosting an art contest for Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation youth ages 4-17. The theme of the contest is “Cheyenne River Fights Covid-19,” and the deadline for dropping off finished artwork at CRYP is 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 29.

The organization will select three winners to receive cash awards for their work. First place will receive $300, second place will receive $200, and third place will receive 100. All artwork will be judged on the following criteria: creativity/originality, connection to the theme, and skills.

“We want our young people to have an opportunity to share how they, their families, and their community are fighting Covid-19 — physically, spiritually, and otherwise,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We encourage them to dig deep, search their imaginations, and share their stories, because their voices matter. What does it look like to fight an invisible enemy? How do you keep your body and spirit safe and well? How can you lean on your culture and your ancestors to help you in this fight? Let’s show the world how we do it on the Cheyenne River!”

Participants can create artwork in any medium, and CRYP is making art supplies available for those in need. Crayons, pencils, and paper may be taken home; advanced supplies such as acrylic paints, watercolor paints, oil pastels, brushes, and canvases are available to use on premises at CRYP’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center. 

“We just ask that you call ahead to schedule a time and day, if you’re planning to work on site,” Garreau said. “That way, we can ensure proper social distancing and other safety protocols.”

Those who wish to support CRYP’s Covid-19 programs and services can make online contributions by visiting lakotayouth.org/donate, and clicking “Covid-19 Relief Fund,” “Winyan Toka Win Garden,” or “Keya Cafe Gift Cards.” Call the offices at (605) 963-8200 or visit lakotayouth.org for more information. 

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