Born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, Kelsey L. Ford (she/her) is an experienced arts administrator, fierce champion of diverse literature, and passionate advocate of positive youth development. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Advertising & Public Relations as well as a Master of Arts degree in Arts Management from Bath Spa University in Bath, England, and a Master of Science degree in Library & Information Science from Simmons University.
Kelsey is the creator of Bookish in the ‘Burgh, Pittsburgh’s Teen Book Festival. She was named one of “13 Luminaries to Meet in 2020” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for her work with teens through the Bookish in the ‘Burgh festival. She previously worked in artistic programming at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (2016-2020) and most recently served as the Director of Marketing & Development at the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus (2020-2022). She currently serves as the Director of Programs at City of Asylum.
In addition to her work as an arts administrator, Kelsey is a novelist, creative writing teaching artist, and teen mentor. She is the adult advisor of the Bridges & Books podcast and PA Reads YA, both projects she created alongside teen leaders in Pennsylvania designed to amplify diverse teen literature and advocate for increased teen leadership. She has presented on the topic of serving and empowering teen leaders through diverse literary programs at several conferences, including the American Library Association Annual Conference, the International Performing Arts for Youth Showcase, and the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English & Language Arts Conference. In her spare time, she is an independent crafter and sings in the Renaissance City Choir.