Mission and Objectives
The mission of the Colorado Black Arts Festival is to seek to involve the total community in helping to establish self-reliance, believing that pride in one’s culture is the foundation for long- term stability and prosperity. The Colorado Black Arts Festival strives to develop, promote and celebrate African arts and culture in Colorado.
The Denver Black Arts Festival (DBAF) had its humble beginnings in 1986 when a small contingent of artist and art lovers lead by the Ayers brothers Oye on the left above and Perry on the right, felt the lack of opportunities for African American visual and performing artists in the Denver Metro area was detrimental to the survival of the artists who were compelled to do art. They felt this lack of opportunity for the artist denied the African American community the education, ideas, movement, words, voices, beauty, colors, dimensions and contradictions of creativity that the arts engender, and that contribute to pride and self-esteem.
The first festival took place in August 1987. It rained the full two days of the festival when a small audience of determinedly fixed believers refused to go home. The next year the Festival was moved to July not to be vulnerable to Colorado’s August monsoons. In 1988, the second annual festival drew an audience of well over 30,000. By 1990, attendance reached over 60,000. In 2009, the DBAF changed its name to Colorado Black Arts Festival, an appropriate name in light of the state-wide reach of the event. Since its inception, the African diaspora art and cultural celebration has been a consistent July event for the community. In 2011, the Colorado Black Arts Festival will celebrate its 25th year Anniversary. The Colorado Black Arts Festival has attracted patrons and artists from around the world and has become Colorado’s premiere celebration of African-American arts and culture. The Festival has received many awards for its outstanding Festival presentation including the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.