Hidden Gems – Pamela Denise Ford



When you meet Pamela Ford, her personal joy is engaging and her expressive laugh is infectious. Her energy is like the pink energy bunny, she just keeps on ticking. Born in Tuskegee at John A. Andrew Hospital in 1969, she is a Tuskegeean through and through. Pamela is a remarkable artist – an artist extraordinaire who has resided in the Elmwood community for 15 years.

She is known as “Pam” by her family, neighbors and friends and has been an artist for as long as she can remember. As a first grader, her teacher recognized her talent and she drew pictures and colored them for special projects for her class. She says that later her art got in the way of her other studies because she was always drawing instead of doing her lessons.

Pam is left-handed and grownups were often tempted to make her right handed. Of course, it did not work. She says, “I am still a lefty, just like President Obama.” It was the first of many challenges she has over-come. She fought back to normal after a car accident in which she injured almost every part of her body. She said art was the key to her rehabilitation.

Despite many personal and professional challenges, Pam found time to teach art and tutor young people in the Public Housing community. She raised her own three biological children and also raised three of her sisters’ children, to save them from going into the foster care system. She felt that it was important that the children be nurtured by family and not by strangers or the state. They are all adults now and doing well. Pam says, “This community needs to reach out more to our young people. We are doing some things, but we need to do more.” She served as an officer of the Housing Authority Residence Council where she had an emphasis on children’s programs.

Currently, Pam is enjoying her two grandsons who are visiting her for the summer. She is music minister at the JCOL Ministries Non-Domination Church under the leadership of Pastor Marsella Harrison. Not only does she conduct her church choirs, but she also sings, writes music and poetry and she is a graphic artist.

Visitors are overwhelmed by the diverse, dynamic and prolific colors you see upon entering her art studio. Seashells, colorful stones, and splashes of patterns augment reds, oranges, yellows, purples, blacks, greys, and blues. You see flowers, birds, streams of water, faces, masks, crosses and lots of butterflies. Everywhere you turn, her expressions are on paper napkins, fabric, furniture, canvas, cardboard, wood, stone and paper. She makes greeting cards, fabric art, bookmarks, headbands, and inspirational wall hangings. Nature is a major theme of her art.

Previously, she has had exhibits at the George Washington Carver Festival, 3 times at the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, Tuskegee Institute Middle School and at her church. Pamela is now ready for a major exhibit to gain national attention. This dream is on the immediate horizon.