Our Inaugural School Arts program 2020-2021 was a great success! We worked with over 1,500 kids at 12 different schools on Pine Ridge and Rosebud and kept the creativity going during a difficult year! Here is a peak at some of the 35 video lessons we created for students:
We are pleased to announce that we will be doing our Black Hills Summer Arts Academy this year. This summer’s program will be much smaller to accommodate all CDC guidelines and all who attend must be vaccinated.
We will be doing immersive programs in visual art, film, traditional arts (moccasins, star quilts, beading), traditional brain tanning, dance and performing arts, and writing. Deadline for submissions is June 15th.
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!
2020 was a difficult year – but we were able to end it on a very bright note 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 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! Our sincere thanks to everyone who contributed and who volunteered to help make this happen!
Sharing some Behind The Scenes of our biggest project ever!!
Our Hoye Wayelo “ I Am Sending A Voice” School Art Program launched this fall and has supplied over 1,200 students with Art Kits and online weekly art classes!
See our post on the Hoye Wayelo School Arts Program here: https://mitakuyefoundation.com/school-arts-program/
The task was daunting and urgent as schools had already started and we had to fight to find materials – that were now in super high demand due to the pandemic. But, after a generous donation by the Sprague Family Foundation (thank you Lo!!), painstaking hours tracking down supplies, getting them to our regional head quarters in neighboring Wyoming (space graciously donated by Jill Smith – thank you!!), and a marvelous feat of assembling massive amounts of art supplies into kits (heroically coordinated by Ramsey Brown – thank you!), all the while following CDC safety guidelines … we pulled it off!
And with some help from volunteers, delivery helpers, and our local staff Stephanie Apple and Dante Witt – we delivered 1,200 art kits to schools in Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations – plus art supplies to our Monthly Art Academy Students and 200 lunches for them and their siblings!
At the same time we wrote the curriculum and quickly had to expand our 15 lesson plan into 31 videos to serve the needs of a full K-12 range of students. We embraced the remote creative landscape we were in and filmed and edited the lessons between California, Massachusetts and South Dakota. Lessons beautifully taught by Colette Crowley, LMHC, ATR.
We worked with one of our long time students, Nora Marshall, who is an 8th grader at Loneman School in Oglala, to illustrate the intro video.
Check out the post about her here: https://mitakuyefoundation.com/celebrating-a-young-artist/
The best part about arts education is that it helps inspire creative thinking. It is exactly that type of thinking that inspired us to find solutions to keep the arts opportunities flowing for students during this pandemic. Teachers now have a full 12 weeks of art lessons for students of all ages and over 1,200 kids have art supplies to work with. Our next step is to raise funding for 12 more weeks of lessons and a second semester of art supplies for even more students. We hope you will join us in our efforts!
Donate here to help us make that happen! https://mitakuyefoundation.com/donate/
Today we are celebrating our student Nora Marshall who is an 8th grader at Isna Wica Owayawa (Loneman School) in Oglala.
Nora has been a student of ours for several years and we have watched her talent grow! We needed illustrations for an intro video for our new school art program and hired Nora for the project!
Check out the video here: https://vimeo.com/467886175/ae002f1071
2020 has been rough year. Let’s have it end on a bright note by providing some love to kids on Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations!
Holidays can be difficult, especially for kids living in extreme poverty. The pandemic has only amplified many of the very challenging circumstances that many kids live in. So we are working hard to extend our reach and serve as many kids as we can.
We are striving to provide holiday gifts for 400 – 500 kids… but can easily deliver to over 1,000 if more come in. As an arts and educational organization – we favor gender-neutral arts & educational toys and toys that inspire physical activity and creativity. But straight up fun toys are great too. We just ask that toys not promote violence – i.e. any type of weapons – and are culturally appropriate for First Nations youth.
Our WishList on Amazon has suggested items but feel free to order whatever you like.:
If the shipping address does not show up in your cart you can enter it manually:
Mitakuye c/o Ramsey Brown
333 French Creek Rd.
Buffalo, Wyoming 82834 (605) 454-4000
We also have secured special pricing for hand drums for kids. If you would like to contribute to that you can contribute to our “Drum Fund”. You can also donate to our “Toy Fund” and we can purchase the toys directly. Donate here and note “toy fund” or “drum fund” in the program box:
Delivery times are supposed to be extra long this year so we suggest that all purchases be made by December 1st and arrive at our headquarters by December 12th so they arrive in time to be delivered to the kids.
2020 has been a challenging year – but we haven’t let that stop our mission to provide empowering and life affirming arts education and opportunities to Lakota kids! We have been working on our biggest project ever!
Our Hoye Wayelo (“ I Am Sending A Voice”) School Art Program launched this fall and has supplied over 1,200 students with Art Kits and online weekly art classes!
We had been working on plans to offer year-round arts programming for kids by partnering with reservation schools. Our plans included providing curriculum, training workshops, and art supplies to schools so teachers could have the support, means, and materials to provide regular art curriculum to their students. When it became clear that the pandemic was not subsiding – we knew that the in-class model was not going to be an option. So we made the ambitious leap to creating an online program that would provide individual art kits to students and filmed lessons that teachers could download and use with their students in their online teaching platforms. These lessons would also be available to use in the classroom when in-person teaching became an option again.
Our deepest thanks to Lo Sprague and the Sprague Family Foundation for making this possible!
We will share a Behind The Scenes look into the process soon. But in the meantime – please enjoy the short intro video to the program – illustrated by our student Nora Marshall – who is an 8th Grader at Loneman School in Oglala.
Mitakuye Summer Arts 2020 was beautiful beyond our wildest expectations!
One of the greatest things about creativity is that it helps us adapt to unknown circumstances. Even though the world shut down – we were determined to run our Summer Arts Academy!
Switching to an online format took a lot of creativity and behind the scenes planning – but working in this format opened up new doors of creating together that we never would have discovered if not out of necessity. As a result we will be continuing the program in a weekly format “Mitakuye Mondays” in August. Starting in September, we will offer a Monthly Arts Academy the first Sunday of every month!
Congratulations to all of our awesome young artists for diving into this new format and creating so honestly and so ferociously! Art, Film, Traditional Art, Story Telling, Music, Writing, Photography, Advanced Projects, + daily movement and meditation – you all rocked it!
Students share their designs that are part of a music, poetry, and visual art collaboration.
Students in the beading class share some of their work.
Elder, Teacher, Master Traditional Artist, and Mitakuye Advisory Council member Verola Spider started each day off with a smudge and a prayer.
We provided the supplies and kids created their own work-spaces.
Our teachers logged on from across the country – including our special guest teacher, elder, and Advisory Council member Joseph Marshall III.
Students finished off the Academy with an online exhibition, feast, and closing ceremony.
And none of this would have happened without all of the incredible work that makes this program run. Please check our Behind The Scenes post HERE.
Even though we were in a pandemic – we were determined to keep the art happening! But we knew we would have to make some drastic changes since in-person learning was not an option. We shifted our Hoye Wayelo Summers Academy online, supported over 100 kids with art supplies and lunches for a local kids program, and sent out over 300 art kits, snack bags, and Creativity Guides for our Summer Art challenge.
Assembling Art Kits for our Academy students …
Supplies went out to hundreds of kids for the Summer Arts Challenge
Wopila to Ramsey Brown – who was our boots on the ground this year! We could not have done it without her dedication and commitment to the kids!
Uncis: Gramma Pepper and Gramma Mona – made and delivered delicious food to our kids!
Many kids did not have devices or Wifi so we provided as many loaner computers and hots spots as we could get our hands on. Dante got all of our technology running smoothly. Carly and Henri helped prep and deliver supplies!
And of course our amazing teachers …
It was a beautiful and inspirational week of creativity, learning, experimenting, and community. Wopila to all of the awesome people who helped make it happen behind the scenes!