Lower Brule Sioux Tribe
BIE – Loan for Service
Wayne State University
Counseling and Art Theory
This Fall semester Alexis is volunteering a weekly visit to offer healing through art at Cass Community Center, an elderly and special needs care center in Detroit, MI. Alexis is currently help ing turn a room in the facility into an art gallery to display the artwork of the residents, especially one who really enjoys painting. Her time at the CC Center is also reported to the Art Therapy program at Wayne State University, so that it may count towards the experiential part of my degree program.
This past Summer, Alexis prepared and sold concessions for the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Mens Basketball Leagues at the Lower Brule Community Center on her familial Reservation. Serving concessions is a great way to support and keep the team hydrated and nourished. This December 2019, Alexis plans to return to her community of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe to hold a 2nd Annual “Tournament for Toys,” through which the remaining proceeds of team entry fees go towards providing children’s toys to youth in the community. Last year, Alexis handed out 2 large bins of toys ($250 value) to all children present at the tournament.
Alexis Estes identifies as a mixed Indigenous individual of Lakota and Russian descent. As the practices of Art, Art Therapy and Yoga encourages her self-expression and growth at a time of great loss and trauma, she seek’s to share these practices to help other Native American women and adolescents heal through the arts. Alexis’s art experience is primarily as a Mural Artist and Screenprinter. Her Lakota culture has influenced her art to contain colorful abstractions of beadwork symbols. This style was developed during her undergraduate studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Some of her large scale public mural paintings include “Mitakuye Oyasin” at the Native Lodge Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, “Conejos” in Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico, and “Wolakota” at the Lower Brule Recreation Center in Lower Brule, South Dakota. Her next mural is scheduled to be created at the American Indian Family Center in Minneapolis, MN during Thanksgiving Break this Fall. Alexis has also created designs and screen-printed them on to t-shirts, sweaters, bandanas and stickers for her brand, Higher Consciousness.
Alexis’s Art Therapy journey began when an Art Therapist guided her through a practice of meditation and art creation that encouraged her growth through self reflection. The practice reminded her of the soothing rhythms and “flow” of Indigenous dance and ceremony, which is why she is passionate about making art therapy more available to indigenous communities. Now, she is pursuing a Masters dual degree – in Counseling and Art Therapy.