The Wyoming Community Media Project (WCM) has an established website[1] as well as a Facebook[2], YouTube[3] and Twitter[4] presence. The project was established in 1963 and provides community-based media. WCM is also linked to the Boulder[5] (BCM) and Nebraska Community Media (NCM) projects[6]. WCM has also an entry on the De Montfort University wiki’s International Community Media Projects page. 

Telling a Story in the Aparaho language

Active projects are the West End Neighbourhood project[7] and the Creative Economy project[8].

The West End Neighbourhood project is an ambitious mixed-use development building project which meets a variety of community needs. It targets a large affordable housing need in Cheyenne. The project seeks to enhance the social and cultural experience for current and future residents and nurtures economic development by providing housing for primary jobs and space for local low-impact businesses.

WCM aims for individuals and groups in the Cheyenne[9] community to develop a space to tell their stories and share their commonalities and differences in the safe environment of the arts and digital media. Wyoming Community Media took part in a variety of movie, TV and web content productions. There is a vast archive of 377 mainly short productions on YouTube[10], spanning over 11 years of creative production. The channel describes itself as ‘Alan O’Hashi’ and has 70 subscribers. It is run by the affiliated ‘Boulder Community Media’ (BCM) organisation, is based in Colorado and aims to democratize media in all their forms, namely printed, painted, sculpted and digitized media, thus making them accessible to all, on small and large screens, as well as at exhibitions. BCM is active in Wyoming as ‘Wyoming Community Media’ (WCM). It may be noted in this regard that Boulder hosts the ‘Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF)[11].

WCM on Twitter

Celebrating the Arts through Video Production

WCM is working with other groups to develop a digital media filmmaking curriculum. This is a welcome addition to their already existing web design and photography courses, which take place in Downtown Cheyenne[12].

Participants are learning hands-on skills in video pre-production, including storytelling, screen writing, casting and location scouting, as well as skills in lighting, sound and camera operation. Further skills include post-production editing as well as promotion through film festivals, websites and community television.

Our motto is: “The Future of the Past is the Present.” (Wyoming Community Media Project)

The project aims to preserve the Arapaho language[13] through storytelling in a 360-degree virtual reality environment. The objective is to make the oral Arapaho language relevant to young people who are mainly connected to games and the internet. In one such example, an old storyteller wrote down a short story in Arapaho, ‘The Fox and the Woodtick’, which was passed down from her great grandfather Chief Yellow Calf. The story teaches a lesson about thinking outside the box. A singer and drummer spoke about the importance and healing properties of making music. Furthermore, a presentation about tribal artwork highlighted the importance of storytelling. The youth combined their self-composed music and original art in 360-degree virtual reality to tell this story at a historic location near Thermopolis[14], Wyoming. This project demonstrated how tribes can present traditional language and cultural preservation in a modern setting.

WCM on Facebook

WCM on Facebook

WCM made a successful grant application to the Boulder Arts Commission, matching the $2,000 received with a number of small donations from a wide variety of people, crediting them in turn in a documentary called ‘Beyond Wind’ and thus setting a good example of community involvement.

WCM aims to empower communities to become sustainable in their own ways by encouraging and celebrating the arts and the New Creative Economy through integrating creativity and social awareness into the daily lives of each community served.

WCM in Downtown Cheyenne

WCM prides itself in providing community-based educational services to students of all ages in Wyoming and beyond. Teaching is on an individual basis or for groups. WCM works closely with local school districts, colleges and universities to develop “hands-on” practical out-of-school learning opportunities in all facets of production, behind and in front of the camera. Student teams produce programs for community TV channels and web streaming. WCM has taught for Wind River Tribal College[15], Laramie County Community College[16] and Carbon County Higher Education.[17]

WCM also produces documentaries. The general theme is ‘The Future of the Past is the Present.’ It also offers distribution and social media marketing through Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. WCM and Nebraska Community Media (NCM) are sister organizations to Boulder Community Media (BCM)[18].