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Eagle Butte Explores Culture And Art At Graffiti Jam


Artists from around the world are shaking their spray paint cans in preparation for the second annual RedCan Graffiti Jam. Hosted by the Cheyenne River Youth Project, or CRYP, the three-day event brings together graffiti and Lakota culture in creativity and fellowship.

The RedCan Graffiti Jam begins this week at various locations in the Eagle Butte community.  Julie Garreau is the executive director of CRYP.   She says the event features nine artists from inside and outside the United States and many local artists.  Garreau says the event exposes people of all ages to a visual way of uplifting the community.

Garreau says last year’s event drew national attention and was a huge success.  In the past year, she says CRYP has expanded its art program and has built a graffiti art park in the community. She thinks infusing Lakota and hip hop culture is powerful.

“We’re telling our story through art, we’re healing through art. It’s interesting that graffiti has taken a contemporary way of approaching what we’re trying to do at Cheyenne River Youth Project, but for the most part, people see it as vandalism. And I think what we’re hoping to do too for the graffiti culture is change how people see it, and when you come to our town and you drive through Main Street or you come to the art park, you see art," says Garreau.

Garreau says that the Cheyenne River Youth Project is known for its innovative ideas, and this Graffiti Jam is no exception. She says this event is especially important for youth to express themselves and find their unique identities. Garreau says events like this can expand young people’s future outlook in a community dealing with economic hardships.

“Our goal is to just really let kids see that ‘I can do that,’ because all kids needs that, and so we’re just using graffiti culture as a way to reach kids and intrigue them about art. I’m expecting our art program to expand in a very magnificent way," says Garreau.

Garreau adds that this event promotes community pride.  She says it also builds appreciation and respect for visual art. She hopes the CRYP’s art programs can continue to grow and gain national support.