27th annual colorado black arts festival 2013


Denver and Nairobi are sister cities under the Denver Sister Cities International. The Colorado Black Arts Festival in conjunction with Denver Sister Cities International invites members of the Kenya Diaspora to take part in this year’s festival held in July 12-14, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. In 1996, The Colorado Black Arts Festival celebrated its 10th year Anniversary and hosted a Kenyan delegation consisting of three dance companies in a cultural exchange through the same Denver Sister Cities International .The Colorado Black Arts Festival would like to re-establish this cultural exchange in addition to re-establishing and re-energizing current commerce relationships. The Colorado Black Arts Festival, through robust Kenyan participation, will give festival patrons a special opportunity to meet and talk with Kenyans from all over the world that will facilitate cultural exchange and harvest an appreciation of the contributions made by Kenyans in the areas of art and culture.



The Colorado Black Arts Festival proudly presents its 27th annual event.  Through the millenniums, mankind has used art for communication, display, personal expression, recording of history and for the preservation of our rich cultural traditions.  The Colorado Black Arts Festival’s goal is to unite and enlighten the entire Colorado community through an artistic compilation of visual presentations, music, dance, language, theatre, literature and food showcasing our unique style.  Festival 2013 will offer a multi-media platform of the arts showcasing artists from Kenya and the African diaspora.

We are proud to present a trio of stages representative of our rich cultural traditions across the performing genres. 


  • The Kuumba Stage is the main creativity performing arts stage that indulges the audience with jazz, soul, blues, roots, reggae, hip hop, and dance ensembles.


  • The Freeman Cosmo Harris Gospel Stage will focus on the stage’s 2013 theme “Up Above My Head” rooted in a true Gospel tradition featuring Gospel composers, musicians, soloists, quartets, ensembles and church choirs.  This year we will commemorate and celebrate America’s gospel icons Mahalia Jackson, the worlds’ greatest gospel singer and the Prince of Gospel, Reverend James Cleveland in a city wide musical participation. This will be followed up by Denver and the Rocky Mountain Region’s professional gospel artists.


  • The Joda Village Stage and Compound is a setting reminiscent of a small Nigerian village.  The stage was named in honor of Mr. Adetunji Joda- teacher, master drummer and dancer who taught traditional Nigerian African Dance and Drum in Denver for more than 40 years. The Joda Village Stage showcases creative interpretations of modern dance, tap, hip hop, caporeia, Caribbean and African dance, spoken word, African roots music, reggae and African American folk music.


  • For young minds we have the Opalanga D. Pugh Children’s Pavilion for Art and Learning which is a fun and interactive learning experience for children ages 2-13.  Please join Denver’s major arts, education and cultural institutions who will present special exhibits.  There will be hands-on educational activities of the Ndebele ethnic group of Southern Africa.  .  The Ndebele are well known for their artistry; from colorful painting of their dwellings to their intricate beadwork.   Festival goers will be able to paint colorful panels and make jewelry like the Ndebele people.  Other activities planned include educational displays of native South African plants native as we partner with Denver Botanic Gardens.  The Museum of Nature & Science will have fun and exciting hands-on activities and there will be a storyteller showcase by local storytellers and community leaders.


  • The African American Visual Arts Pavilion themed "Visions of a Legend" will be a prominent venue for all to enjoy.  Noted elite African American Visual Artists will exhibit their finest original works reflecting visions of  man, woman and nature in an enclosed gallery.  An all media show will include paintings, oils, acrylics and watercolors, drawings, etchings, pen, ink, charcoal and silk screen.  Other media includes collage, photography, glass, fiber, wood carvings, jewelry, ceramics and sculpture.  


  • Boogaloo Celebration Parade theme for 2013 is “Dancing in the Streets”.  This highly anticipated festival event is down 22nd Ave between Downing and York Streets.  

It is a festive, colorful, and elaborate showcase of community pride that thrills thousands of parade spectators both young and old alike, as they watch the procession down a tree-lined neighborhood avenue leading to the main archway of Denver City Park.  Crowds flock to claim their spot to witness the pageantry of the parade participants.  The crowds are never disappointed as they feel the energy and excitement while watching marching bands, drill and drum teams, youth groups, civic groups, and colorful themed floats. Celebrity guests, local politicians, sports and media personalities not to be denied the fun and excitement, make sure that they have a spot in the parade.


  • The Watu-Sakoni Marketplace is a place to purchase goods and services from an array of vendors that offer exotic clothing oils, incense, hand made crafts, unique t-shirts, music, home décor, jewelry, African masks and drums.  Special services from non- profit and socio-civic organizations that provide bone marrow transplant registration, child adoptions, sickle cell awareness, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, businesses opportunities, employment and educational opportunities, media outreach and military recruitment.  This year, we will have Kenyan vendors from Denver sister city, Nairobi, Kenya and the Kenyan diaspora participate in cultural exchange and in celebration of Kenya’s 50th anniversary of independence.


  • Food Court will have an array of tasty and affordable food prepared and presented by local restaurants, caterers and confectionaries.  The food court will feature delicious foods from the American South, the African continent, the Caribbean, Asia and European nation’s at all affordable prices.


  • Art Garden will be a prominent venue for all to enjoy.  It is expected to be one of the biggest audience draws of the Festival where there is a concentration of festival goers whose attention is focused on the beauty of visual arts.  The Art Garden will have large sculptures, mural paintings, a bottle tree, interactive art projects and other interesting visual art to enjoy.  Noted elite African American visual artists such as Oye Oginga, James Dixon, Jack Price and others will exhibit their finest original works in a “garden of art” setting.


  • Farmers Market which is new to the Festival will have local farmers that will have on hand healthy food choices including fresh fruits and vegetables, spices and baked goods.   Farmers market will also feature food cooking demonstrations and health and wellness tips.


  •  Car Show will feature community car clubs displaying their treasured and well-preserved hot-rods and cars for festival goers to enjoy and discuss with the owners.


  • Scavenger Hunt will have festival attendees of all ages hunting for answers to “the clues”.  This activity encourages exploration of all the festival’s offerings as no stone is left unturned.


Festival 2013 will also feature:  “Colorado Night at the Apollo”
African American Quilters Association
The Cleo Parker Robinson Summer Dance Institute “Pomoja”
The 2013 Louise Duncan Awardee Recipient: Vocalist- Hazel Miller
The African American Community Drum Circle
Drum and Drill Team Exhibitions



Flyer for prospective vendors