Cheyenne River Youth Project executive receives award for artistic leadership

Americans for the Arts presented its 2022 Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Artistic Leadership to Julie Garreau, Executive Director of the Cheyenne River Youth Project. The national nonprofit’s awards presentation was part of its annual conference, which took place at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, May 18-20, 2022.

The award recognizes an individual working in arts management who has made a significant contribution to their local community and who exemplifies extraordinary leadership qualities. Garreau said she was honored to accept on behalf of her entire team at CRYP, which is based in the heart of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.

“I am deeply grateful to receive this award, as it is an award for all of us at CRYP,” she said. “The hard work we do simply wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have such a dedicated team. Every day, our staff members nurture and educate children, serve families, tend our 2.5 acre garden, prepare and process food, run multi-disciplinary workshops and community events, host performances, establish partnerships, guide the volunteers and take care of the whole day. – day-to-day operations, from facility management and grounds maintenance to administration and communications. Each person plays an essential role.

Garreau, whose Lakota name is Wičhaȟpi Epatȟaŋ Wiŋ (Touch the Star Woman), is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe. Since 1988, she and her team have grown CRYP from a small youth center to a full campus that includes “The Main” youth center, Čhokáta Wičhóni teen center, Waniyetu art institute and park Wowapi, Winyan Toka Win Garden, Leading Lady Farm Stand, and Keya Gift Shop and Online Store.

As CRYP has grown over the past three decades, so has its profile. In 2017, Garreau and his team received the prestigious Robert E. Gard Award from the Americans for the Arts. This award recognized the innovative Waniyetu Wowapi Institute & Art Park as well as the RedCan Invitational Graffiti Jam, the first and only event of its kind in Indian Country. The 8th annual RedCan event is scheduled for July 5-10; Also this summer, construction will begin on an 8,655 square foot facility that will become the art institute’s permanent home.

“We knew we needed a bold, inclusive, and convenient space for our community to come together to freely express themselves, learn alongside each other, share ideas, and deepen their connection to our Lakota culture,” said said Garreau. “We look forward to providing our young people, in particular, with an environment in which they can learn artistic and life skills in a forward-thinking, relevant and contemporary way, while beautifying the community we all call home. . »

Additionally, Americans for the Arts recognized the CRYP team in 2019 with its Arts Education Award, and in 2018 with the David Rockefeller pARTnership Award for the Teen Internship Program. This popular program, which began in 2013 with just a handful of teenagers learning about Indigenous food sovereignty, now offers additional tracks in social enterprise, Indigenous cooking, Indigenous wellness and the arts – and it has graduated more than 1,500 trainees to date. A new track in Lakota culture will be introduced this year.

“We are humbled and honored by the attention CRYP has received over the past few years,” said Garreau. “It’s a testament to what you can do when you join people who are willing to work with you to serve, empower and uplift your community.

“The work we do in Indian Country is difficult and essential,” she continued. “We are training the next generation of leaders and culture carriers, and this would not be possible without the relationships we have established locally, across the country and even around the world. We have created a huge CRYP family, which is very Lakota-style.

To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for more information about donating and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit And, to stay up to date with the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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