The 2017 Lakota Art Camp folks took some time to host a picnic for the Art Camp students and their relatives together with individuals and families from Kyle and the surrounding communities. Despite searing temperatures (think 95 degrees at 4:45 pm) the extremely dedicated (and hot) crew of Renatha Cornelia, Linda Huggins, Terri Molnar and Eunice Nasri performed over and above the call of duty in a positively sweltering kitchen preparing barbecued chicken and baked potatoes along with a fresh salad and with watermelon and strawberry shortcake for desert.
Unofficial estimates had the peak dinner crowd approaching three dozen, sending the rest of the Art Camp staff on a scavenger hunt for extra picnic tables and, most important of all, ice. In the end, everyone was very well fed, relatively cool and enjoyed great communion and fellowship among the families and Art Camp volunteers. Most importantly we were honored to have Hazel Thunderbull in attendance, a particularly special moment for John Connolly as her living memory includes interactions with William A. Edwards who first journeyed from Western Pennsylvania to Pine Ridge more than 100 years ago and whose life-long friendship with the Lakota nation ultimately gave birth to the Lakota Art Camp project.
Although Thursday dawned mercifully cool the pace of the Art Camp’s activities at the Little Wound School was feverish as ever. Following breakfast and a reading from the White Buffalo Calf Woman graphic novel, the students busied themselves coloring their own personal copies of the book while the Art Camp volunteers made final preparations for the day’s art proiects. Chief among those projects was silk screening tee shirts for each of the students with a representation of the White Buffalo Calf Woman graphic novel’s cover art; plans are for the students to personalize the tee-shirts on Friday by further decorating the shirts with fabric paint.
In addition, the second step in the creation of the parfleches (bags) and icapsintes (quirts) was completed with the addition of shoulder straps and (faux) beaver skin wrist straps, respectively. The students also painted the clay sculptures they had created on Monday while several newcomers to the class had the choice of either starting their own clay project, a parfleche or an icapsinte.
Later, Suzanne Big Crow led a fascinating tutorial on the role of the turtle in Lakota society, featuring a hand-out written both in English and Lakota. After reading the hand-out in both languages, the students then painted either wooden cut-outs of turtles or, in the case of the youngsters, traced an outline of a turtle on construction paper and then painted their own turtles.
After another delicious lunch of tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches and apple & orange slices, we bid bon voyage to Terri and Pastor Dennis Molnar who headed back to Pittsburgh. Then the dress rehearsal for the Rainbow play — aka ROYGBIV Comes to Kyle — commenced including special effects that would put George Lucas to shame in the form of a rainstick, thunder (drums) and lightning (flashing the overhead lights off and on).
With a little luck – and a lot of effort — all the art projects will be completed tomorrow morning just in time for the students’ parents to attend the Art Camp’s traditional grand finale of an art show followed by the highly-anticipated world premier of ROYGBIV Comes to Kyle.