Zuni is truly an arts community, with many renowned artists and distinguished art forms. At ZYEP, we work hard to elevate the power that Zuni artists have to contribute to the healthy development of Zuni youth through the following art initiatives:
Oral History Theater began as a conversation between A:shiwi A:wan Museum and ZYEP about how 1960’s audio recordings of Delap’na:we (traditional winter storytelling) from the Doris Duke Collection could be brought to life. From this conversation, the community-led Oral History Theater project was created to connect Zuni youth and adults through the cultural tradition of storytelling. For two months during the winter, community members and youth work together to develop a script, background, and costumes, and to rehearse roles with participants. Their hard work culminates in a two-night theater performance for the public. Theater participants have reported a 26% increase in enjoyment of speaking the Zuni language.
During spring, summer, and fall, ZYEP offers apprenticeships that connect renowned Zuni artists with local youth in creative art projects. Many of the lead artists have designed their apprenticeships around large public art projects that include the youth participants’ artwork. These special community-driven projects provide Zuni youth with opportunities to contribute art that has a positive effect on their community. We are poised to grow our apprenticeship program and perpetuate Zuni’s long tradition of artistic excellence for future generations.
Zuni social dances provide local youth with an amazing opportunity to connect to and express their culture through movement. ZYEP collaborates with local elementary and middle school to implement the Zuni dance classes during the school year.
Students are taught Zuni dances and the meaning behind the movements and traditional regalia. At the end of the class, the students showcase what they have learned by putting on a performance for the entire school and their families. Dance participants have reported a 33% increase in happiness, 17% increase in feeling healthy, and 50% increase in enjoyment of participating in Zuni dance over the class.