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To cultivate an environment in which the creative class thrives through community works of art and community partnerships.

I founded the Artist X Advocacy mentorship program (AXA), with the mission to ease the academic and social, emotional transition for graduating high school students who are going directly into higher education or directly into the arts and advocacy fields of work. This is a one-on-one, paid mentorship program. AXA is open to 11th – 12th grade students attending Des Moines public high schools. The 6 to 12 month mentorship program includes:

  • weekly to bi-monthly one-on-one mentor/mentee sessions

  • mentee stipend

  • a series of community engagement workshops to build mentee's professional connections

  • mainframe studio visits

  • a series of field trips to meet community leaders, movement makers, advocates and creatives

  • a resume/portfolio buildout

  • professional documentation via photo shoot, podcast and radio interviews.

  • creating an original public work of art/art performance

  • public art exhibition

Currently I am working with a mentee who has successfully graduated from high school and has entered freshman year at Drake University. Mentee Bio: Ava Palmer Iowa based multi-disciplinary artist and Artist X Advocacy mentee. In August 2021, Palmer entered undergraduate studies at Drake University in the 3+3 program for Journalism and Law. We are currently creating and producing a series of diverse and innovative works of public art that build a more inclusive visual arts community and foster advancement in equality and economics. Mentorship and public works of art are vibrant expressions of human connectivity and imagination and are central to a culturally active Iowa.

As an Iowa based artist, who has been in practice for 19 years, I specialize in narrative works, murals and public works of art; investigating race, history, stereotypes, accessibility, and human experiences. As a former trauma informed care, substance use counselor for the state of Iowa, I worked 8 years in counseling and mentorship spaces. Speaking for myself, I have experienced first-hand the amount of growth that comes from one-on-one mentorship as well as using art as the catalyst for change. Artists X Advocacy: Mentorship Program has had a tremendous, productive and successful first year and we are scheduled to debut our first public work this November, 2021. This would not have been possible without the support of Mainframe Studios, ArtForce Iowa and The Iowa Arts Council Resilience grant funding. In order to keep this powerful mentorship program running full steam ahead, continued funding support is needed. I believe in the power of collectives and should anyone reading be emboldened to take a role in supporting AXA Mentorship Program, please contact me at: or through my website #axa

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