2020 has been unprecedented on every level. After the pandemic hit and we began to realize the enormity of the situation – we thought we would have to cancel most of our programming for kids. But after some creative problem solving and innovation – 2020 has turned out to be one of our biggest years ever.
At the beginning of the year we had hit the ground running and started off the year with a Creators Club Awards Program and School Tour for our Winter contest winners:
We had record breaking numbers of entries for all of our Art Contests:
We also had the opportunity to continue the work we have started with the Elder’s Project by hosting our Advisor Richard Moves Camp – Lakota spiritual leader, teacher and historian, to Los Angeles to do a presentation at UCLA. The Elders Project focuses on celebrating and preserving the wisdom and knowledge of Lakota Elders and creates inter-generational opportunities and programming for youth to learn from elders and participate in archiving their knowledge.
Elders and traditional knowledge form the backbone of the educational opportunities we create for kids.
When the pandemic hit – we were determined to keep the art happening for our summer programs, but we knew we would have to make some drastic changes since in-person learning was not an option. So we shifted our Hoye Wayelo Summer Arts Academy online and expanded our Summer Arts Program to support over 100 kids with art supplies and lunches for a community kids program, and sent out over 300 Art Kits, snack bags, and Creativity Guides to kids in Pine Ridge and Rosebud, for our Summer Art Challenge
See more on The Summer Arts Academy Here: https://mitakuyefoundation.com/summer-arts-2020-2/
See Summer Behind The Scenes Here: https://mitakuyefoundation.com/summer-2020-behind-the-scenes/
The summer programs were so successful we decided to keep up programming in August with a weekly academy Mitakuye Mondays. We saw the need and the response and decided to keep programming going on a regular basis with a monthly online Arts Academy. The Fall Arts Academy launched in September and ran the first Sunday of every month through December.
We had been working on ideas to create year-round arts programming for kids by partnering with reservation schools. When we learned that kids would not be returning to the classroom in the Fall we shifted gears and launched our most ambitious project to date. The Hoye Wayelo (“ I Am Sending A Voice”) School Art Program supplied over 1,500 students with Art Kits at 12 different schools across Pine Ridge and Rosebud. We created 35 videos for online weekly art classes!
See more on the School Art Program Here: https://mitakuyefoundation.com/school-arts-program/
See Behind The Scenes for the School Art Program here: https://mitakuyefoundation.com/school-arts-behind-the-scenes/
We wrapped up this year with our largest Winter Toy Drive ever! This year it took on special significance as kids have been enduring such tough times and most of the organizations that usually supply and deliver toys were not running. So we stepped up our game and stepped in to help. We brought in over 1,000 toys, packaged them and helped deliver them to schools and communities in Pine Ridge and Rosebud. It was a great joy to be able to provide arts and educational toys to young people during these very difficult times.
See more on the 2020 Winter Toy Drive here: https://mitakuyefoundation.com/2020-winter-toy-drive/
As we shift into this new calendar year – we do not know what 2021 will hold in store. But we do know that the creative skills and and thinking that we share with the kids will be priceless tools to help navigate the unknown. And we will use those tools to continue to refocus and evolve our programming to fit the ever changing needs of the young people and the ever changing world they are navigating. And with that healing and creative spirit as the focus and the center of everything we do – we look forward to a new year of healing and creativity!