Dr. Chris Ford was named director of the Baltimore School for the Arts in April 2011. He has been at BSA since 1981, beginning as a saxophone instructor, then instrumental music coordinator, and later rising to music department head in 1992.
Dr. Ford is deeply committed to equity and access. Under his leadership, the HelloTwigs! program and the new Charles C. Baum Film and Visual Storytelling Department (lead donors, Patricia and Mark Joseph) were founded to create more opportunities for Baltimore’s children.
Focused on preparing the next generation of the creative workforce, under Dr. Ford’s leadership, the Baltimore Schools for the Arts has been developing 21st-century skills in its students, through interdisciplinary projects promoting collaboration, communication, and the ability to work with people from different backgrounds.
While young arts professionals need expert classical skills, they also need to be connected to the innovative tools of the future. In partnership with private philanthropists, Dr. Ford opened a space for students to collaborate and work with 21st century tools, the Center for Collaborative Arts and Technology, a space that provides industry-standard digital tools for student use—during and after school hours.
He also led BSA’s strategic planning initiative in 2015, identifying core values and goals that will prepare BSA students for success in creative workplaces. This strategic plan has led to the establishment of innovative courses like the Interdisciplinary Collaboration class, an experience for all 10th graders that provides the skills necessary to develop and manage their own collaborative projects.
Dr. Ford completed degrees at the University of Texas, Austin; Bowling Green State University; and the University of Maryland, College Park. He completed further studies with Mr. Jean-Marie Londeix at the Conservatoire National de Bordeaux under the auspices of a Fulbright Fellowship. Upon his return to the United States, presented a solo recital in Carnegie Recital Hall and appeared as a saxophone soloist with the Baltimore Symphony, the Delaware Festival Orchestra, and the American Chamber Orchestra.
In addition to BSA, Dr. Ford has taught on the faculties of Peabody Conservatory, St. Mary’s College, Towson University, and Goucher College.