Saturday, June 17, 2017

Americans for the Arts announced that RedCan Graffiti Jam of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota has been awarded the esteemed Robert E. Gard award. The award recognizes and celebrates exemplary work at the intersection of the arts and community life, and was presented today at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in San Francisco.
The RedCan Graffiti Jam, held on the Cheyenne River Reservation and in various locations in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, is the only event of its kind in Indian country. The event convenes over a dozen native and non-native emerging and professionally renowned graffiti artists to Cheyenne River Youth Project’s (CRYP) Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park to work with native youth. Over four days, artists paint with youth, ‘artwashing’ the community with vibrant murals mixing contemporary art and Lakota culture. Cheyenne River artists trained in CRYP’s arts internship program share their work and mentor others. 
RedCan offers this space for youth to explore their identities and share their stories, while having the opportunity to work with some of the top artists in the country today. The event has also allowed generations of Lakota people come together in support of youth and its efforts to beautify the community and strengthen the bond between youth and their culture. 
“RedCan celebrates individuality, positive self-expression, healthy creativity, and the healing and empowerment of the Cheyenne River community,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Through this work, they positively impact the lives of residents and strengthen their community as a whole, and their commitment is deserving of this recognition.”  
This summer will be CRYP’s third annual RedCan event. Founded in 1988, CRYP 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.
The Robert E. Gard award is named in honor of one of the founding fathers of the local arts movement and a champion of the arts role in the creation and maintenance of healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities.  
Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 55 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at