ArtForceIowa is a 501c3 non-profit governed by a board of directors. The organization is managed by executive program director, Cyndi Pederson, with the support of Yvette Zaród Hermann, Christine Her, Michelle Jackson, and Emma Parker. Professional artists serve as Artist-Mentors. These artists lead workshops and develop positive relationships with youth.
Executive Director Cyndi@artforceiowa.org (515) 229-4748
Cyndi is a Des Moines native and passionate supporter of the arts. She has spent much of her professional life working on creative solutions to improve the quality of life for Iowans. As the former Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, Pederson managed a staff of 91 employees and was the lead legislative liaison for the department. During the past three years at the Des Moines Social Club (DMSC), she was responsible for establishing operations as the organization grew into the renovated firehouse. In her role as Executive Director of ArtForceIowa, Pederson will oversee the organization’s mission “to transform youth in need through art” with a suite of innovative arts-based programs.
StreetCred Studios Michelle@artforceiowa.org (515) 777-3182
Michelle is our StreetCred Studios Production Manager. She's passionate about working with troubled youth and believes in second chances.
Yvette Zaród Hermann
Program Director Yvette@artforceiowa.org (917) 628-3633
Yvette is a passionate advocate for the rights of young people. As a New York City Teaching Fellow, Yvette earned her Master's of Science in Education from CUNY Lehman College while working in a public high school in the Bronx. She has 13 years of arts-integrated teaching experience. She has taught widely in Des Moines Public Schools, at the YMCA, Des Moines Performing Arts, Grand View University and DMACC Urban Campus.
DSM Heroes, Program Manager Christine@artforceiowa.org (515) 777-3182
Christine is a singer, songwriter, performer native to Des Moines. She co-founded TOGETHER, a youth-led activist coalition and received the Governor's Volunteer Award. After graduating from Drake University with a BA in Creative Writing, she began working at DHS where she helped provide free legal assistance to hundreds of refugees. She served as co-chair for Monsoon's board and has experience with consumer marketing, programming, teaching and serving as the Des Moines Register's and Juice Magazine's community engagement/content specialist and events coordinator.
Whitney Leming-Salisbury Social Media Strategist, Partnering to Protect Children AmeriCorps Member Whitney@artforceiowa.org (515) 777-3182
Whitney is our new Partnering to Protect Children AmeriCorps Member. She recently graduated from Drake University with a BAE in Secondary English Education and Psychology. She is also certified in Trauma-Informed Care and Teaching.
Current Artist-Mentors Include:
Saulaman Schlegel, Reiko Uchytil, Jordan Olson, Johnathan Fusco, Dan Nutt, Kathryn E. Sutton, Cody Sherman, Sam McCauley, Paula Egan
Christine Her, Micah Smith, Dartanyan Brown, Hillary Dickens, Erik Brown, Kaleena Calcutta-Faux
Saulaman Schlegel, Jason Gorsuch
Filmmaking and Photography
Kristian Day, Dan Acosta Jaquez
Theater and Creative Writing
Yvette Hermann, Sarah Welch, Claudia Kyalangalilwa, Monserrat Iniguez, Jami DeVries, Rachel Vogel Quinn
Eric Kinman, Project Director, United Way of Central Iowa
Kimberly Graham, Attorney (specialist in Family Law)
Joshua V. Barr, Director, City of Des Moines Department of Human and Civil Rights
James Bell, Motivational Speaker
Sharon Wegner, Attorney (specialist in Juvenile Courts)
Hoang Tran, Design Architect, RDG Dahlquist Studios
John Mark Robert Feilmeyer, Nonprofit Leader, MyAgro
Carl Vieregger, Professor of Management & International Business, Drake University
Michael A. Gilmer, Attorney, Davis Brown Law (specialist in Taxation)
Anna Tran, Internal Auditor, Fidelity & Guaranty Life