Colorado Black Arts Festival

A nonprofit organization

Video Credit: SCFD. 2019. Community Lifting Voices: Colorado Black Arts Festival.
(Interview with 2017 - 2023 Executive Director, Florence Ayers)

Building Intergenerational Connections
Safety In Cultural Expression
Creating Space for Artistic Excellence

The History of the Colorado Black Arts Festival
The Denver Black Arts Festival (DBAF) had its humble beginnings in 1986 when a small contingent of artists and art lovers recognized the lack of opportunities for Black visual and performing artists in the Denver Metro area. Prevailing inequities at the time threatened the survival of these artists, who were compelled to share their art with the community. Limited opportunities and recognition prompted the artists to act, believing that the cultural beauty inherent in their ideas, movements, words, voices, and creative expressions deserved to be openly celebrated with pride.

The first festival took place in August 1986 when a small audience of determinedly fixed believers refused to go home regardless of the monsoon weather. In 1987, the second annual festival drew an audience of well over 30,000 and by 1990 the attendance reached 60,000. In 2009, DBAF changed its name to Colorado Celebration of African American Arts and Culture, but fondly known as the Colorado Black Arts Festival, an appropriate name in light of the state-wide reach of the event. In 2024, CBAF will celebrate its 38 years of black artistic excellence. 


The mission of Colorado Celebration of African American Arts and Culture fondly known as 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.


Raise the level of appreciation for the role Black arts and culture play in the development, sustainability and mental well-being of the community.

Bring cultural awareness about the Black and African diaspora through education and programming for the community.

Organization Data


Organization name

Colorado Black Arts Festival

other names

Colorado Celebration of African American Arts and Culture, Denver Black Arts Festival and CBAF

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Arts, Culture & Humanities

Organization Size

Small Organization


P.O. Box 300577
Denver, CO 80203

Service areas

Adams County, CO, US

Denver, CO, US

Aurora, CO, US

Colorado Springs, CO, US

Broomfield, CO, US



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