Kristin Cardenas is the Executive Director and founder of Denver Arts & Skills Center (DASC) an innovative arts approach to decrease recidivism. Kristin has studied Art Education at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design and Behavioral Science at Metropolitan State University.
Kristin has a deep passion for the arts community. Most recently, she's traveled to South Africa where she taught children in the Primary School District. She witnessed first-hand, the obstacles a felon faces when being integrated back into society. During her late teenage years through most of her adult life, she's singled-handidly cared for her father who was suffering from alcohol abuse and her two brothers who are now recovering drug addicts and ex-offenders. Kristin is also owner of Open Door Tea Shop in Denver, where system effected individuals and sell inmate artwork with proceeds going to the families and children left behind due to incarceration.
Liz Maher has been working as a full time clinical therapist providing individual and group art therapy with incarcerated clients at the Boulder County Jail since January 2016. Her past clinical experience has been working with combat veterans at the Boulder Vet Center, and with survivors of sex trafficking at a women’s shelter in Cambodia. Liz earned her BFA in Painting at Rhode Island School of Design in 2004, and her MA in Transpersonal Counseling with a concentration in Art Therapy from Naropa University in 2015. Liz is passionate about creating opportunities for clients to expand their sense of self and work toward the resolution for grief, PTSD, mental health disorders and major disruptions in identity.
Cindy, a professional in the non-profit sector, comes to Denver Arts and Skills Center after 16 years as the Vice President of Programs for the American Lung Association in Colorado (ALAC) where she provided oversight and direction to all ALAC programs and monitored budgets cumulatively totaling over $1,500,000. She also supervised ALAC’s policy and advocacy agenda and the American Lung Association’s 7-state Southwest Region’s Communication Department. Cindy is a past recipient of the ALA National Award for Program Excellence for her commitment to sustainable programming with measurable outcomes.
Mark Jackson is DASC's Project Coordinator: On May 25, 2010, Mark Jackson was sentenced to 15-years in prison in the Colorado Department of Corrections. He spent nearly five years sharing prison cells with murderers, kidnappers, violent gang members, and many other of Colorado's most notorious and violent criminals. While incarcerated, Mark witnessed unspeakable acts of violence. Several inmates were murdered at the same facility where Mark was being held. Undeterred Mark rose above the death and destruction of prison society to change and improve the lives of countless inmates. Please visit Mark's website to learn more about him: markjacksonspeaker.com