ArtForceIowa Sees Year of Success in Graduating Students

DES MOINES, Iowa - A local non-profit dedicated to helping reduce crime through art is celebrating a year of success.

ArtForceIowa works with court-involved youth in its Creative Pathways program on various art projects after school. The group's mentors help kids pursue hobbies in music, dancing, painting, and more. ArtForceIowa released its annual report this week, citing major success in graduating its students. Out of eight seniors in the program, seven graduated - a huge success, according to the group, citing research showing 30-40 percent of students who are involved in the juvenile detention system drop out of high school.

"We can have conversations with our youth without using words," said Yvette Hermann with ArtForceIowa. "Putting paint in their hands, and all of the sudden we can see what their state of mind is that day, because they're expressing using abstract art. So, it's a lot easier to help to delve into difficult issues by way of visual means, or even dance or poetry can reveal a whole bunch, that a conversation is much more difficult to start."

ArtForceIowa has moved from its downtown location to a new space at 600 Holcomb Street in Des Moines. Additionally, the non-profit is adding a Creative Pathways program similar to what it already has, but designed for immigrant and refugee students.