Kelsey Halliday Johnson

Kelsey Halliday Johnson (she/they) is a cultural organizational strategist, interdisciplinary curator, artist, and writer from Philadelphia, living in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Prior to becoming Executive Director at SPACE (Portland), Johnson worked as a museum curatorperformance and live art coordinatorarchaeological ceramic collection specialistcommunity radio DJart collective memberart publishing intern, and instructor at the University of Pennsylvania and Interlochen Center for the Arts. A graduate of Princeton University, The University of Pennsylvania, and Wesleyan University, Johnson’s research has included the aesthetics and rhetoric of fascism, the intersection of art and technology, and the body as a political instrument in performance. The care, spirit, and values in her work are modeled after the inspiring arist/organizer mentors she hopes to honor: Terry Adkins, Matt Freedman, Sam Miller, and Emmet Gowin. Her 2016-2017 multi-site independent curatorial project Making/Breaking the Binary: Women, Art & Technology (1968-85) garnered support from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and activated organizations throughout the Philadelphia region to explore women-identifying artists ahead of the personal computing age. Some thoughts by Kelsey on the future of the art field can be found in the Common Field “Field Perspectives 2019” with Title Magazine.  A former staff member and longtime member of the Vox Populi collective in Philadelphia, Kelsey is personally and politically interested in exploring alternative models of organization building. 

When not reading books or getting outside, Kelsey is passionate about volunteering for queer and reproductive justice, in addition to serving as the Treasurer (former Vice Chair) of Sierra Club Maine, the Collections Committee of the Portland Museum of Art, and the Cultural Steering Committee for the City of Portland. She actively identifies as an ambivert and has been known to be quite taken with novelty office supplies.