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Zuni is truly an arts community, with many renowned artists and distinguished art forms. Zuni artists and their work serve as history bearers and knowledge sharers. Through the following initiatives, ZYEP works hard to elevate the power that Zuni artists have to contribute to the healthy development of Zuni youth.

Delapna:we Project

The Delapna:we Project began as a conversation between A:shiwi A:wan Museum and ZYEP about how 1960’s audio recordings of delapna:we (traditional oral stories told in the winter) from the Doris Duke Collection could be brought to life. From this conversation, the community-led project was created to connect Zuni youth and adults through the cultural tradition of storytelling. During the winter storytelling season, community members and youth work together to learn the story, develop a script, scenery, and costumes, and to rehearse roles. Their hard work culminates in an in-person and live streamed production for the Zuni Community. Delapna:we participants have reported increases in enjoyment of speaking the Zuni language and self confidence. This community led project has brought many community leaders and organizations together to form the collective, Ho’n A:wan Productions.


With Zuni art as a way of passing down traditions, knowledge, and values, ZYEP knew it was our responsibility to foster opportunities for our youth to connect with renowned artists from our community. We offer year round apprenticeships where an art mentor leads a cohort of 15 young artists (ages 12 – 24) in a specific medium. During this apprenticeship, students develop their art skills, learn entrepreneurial skills, and engage with the cultural significance behind Zuni art forms. Each apprenticeship has its own showcase to celebrate the cohort and their work. We have partnered with the Ancestral Rich Treasures of Zuni (ARTZ) Cooperative, New Mexico’s only Native owned art cooperative, so that the youth in the apprenticeships can have a membership and sell their art in their gallery. Youth have reported increases in their artistic skills, confidence in marketing their work, and connections to Zuni culture.

In-School Zuni Dance

Zuni social dances provide local youth with an amazing opportunity to connect to and express their culture through movement. ZYEP collaborates with our local elementary and middle schools to implement Zuni dance classes during the school year. Students are taught Zuni dances and the meaning behind the movements. They also create pieces of their own traditional regalia. Nutrition and art education are embedded in the curriculum to emphasize the importance of holistic wellness. 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.

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