2019 has been record-breaking on every front!
Every year we engage more kids and this year was no exception! We had more students than ever submitting to our Creators’ Club and Art Contests!
We continue to expand our relationships with the schools which allow us to significantly increase the numbers of students we can reach. We have also increased the number of recipients in our School Art Supply program and are now sponsoring art clubs in various schools.
We did multiple school tours in 2019 in the spring, fall, and winter. We connected with thousands of kids in our school assemblies and gave out hundreds of awards for our Creator’s Club and Art Contests!
Our Hoye Wayelo (I Am Sending A Voice) programs continue to blossom! This summer we ran a community art program for the kids in downtown Pine Ridge, did a residency at Little Wound School in Kyle, did an immersion program at a Lakota Cultural camp in Wanblee, and ran our Summer Arts Academy in the Black Hills.
We took the art to the streets with students in Pine Ridge!
We did a residency at Little Wound School in Kyle and created the first of our “Three Dimensional Star Quilt Projects”. Students also did studies in music and filmmaking.
We took the art out into the country for students at the Lakota Cultural Camp in Wanblee. We were invited by the directors of this unique camp to come and work with the students who were getting immersed in Lakota teachings and culture. As art is such a big part of Lakota culture and traditional identity is such an important part of the work we do – it was a wonderful collaboration.
The highlight of our Hoye Wayelo Summer Arts Immersion programs was the Black Hills Summer Arts Academy: a one week sleep-away program in the sacred ancestral lands of the Lakota. Students worked across all disciplines with local and visiting artists, elders, and mentors. Our special guest teacher this year was acclaimed Lakota author Joseph Marshall III.
Students started the program by raising a traditional tipi which stood at the center of camp as a place of reflection, creativity, and Lakota identity.
In September we finished off the summer with a school tour and sponsored the 3rd Annual Eugene Reddest Memorial Youth Award at the 72nd Annual Potato Creek Wacipi.
The LIFELINE, our 24/7 help line run by leaders from the Sweetgrass Project and the BEARs program, got a new poster design this year! We held a contest for students to create a new design. We now have a new text line! The new poster will be in schools early next year.
We had another beautiful year of sponsoring the Annual 500 Mile Sacred Hoop Prayer Run and several other of the Gray Grass Youth Programs, including: the Thunderlake Boxing Club for Boys and Girls, regular basketball and baseball tournaments for kids, and open gym nights to keep kids safe and engaged.
We expanded our Advisory Council to include three new revered Lakota elders: Richard Moves Camp, Verola Spider, and Joseph Marshall, III!
Our Winter Toy Drive delivered over 200 gifts for the students at He Dog School in Parmelee, and shipped out another 200 for the Wakpamni winter event, the BEAR Project winter event, and families on Pine Ridge. We were able to spread the good will even further by purchasing a big batch of new Native-themed books for young Native kids who will be spending the holidays in domestic violence shelters. On New Years Eve we will be sponsoring Community Safe Events to keep kids safe and cared for!
We have a full roster of programs and events lined up for 2020!