Black to Basics

Twenty-three years ago, the Denver Black Arts Festival was created to give black artists an opportunity to showcase their work. "Back in 1986," explains festival spokeswoman Sheryl Renee, "there was no place for African and African-American artists to show their wares, no outlet for visual artists from mainland Africa and here. From those humble beginnings, we've grown every year and watched our vision evolve. This year we've got a new management team, who are taking the fest to the next level. We've always featured great talent in Denver, but this is the first time we'll have international talent."

This year’s festival will also boast a free concert by the SOS Band on Saturday night, and Sunday's All Star Comedy Show by Comedian AD and Friends. Other highlights include the Boogaloo Celebration Parade with the "March of the African Nations,” the Joda Village stage featuring drum and dance, and two new pavilions: Gift of Green and Health Is Wealth. As always, though, the highlight will be artist-vendors displaying and selling their wares.

The festival begins July 10 with youth events from noon to 7 p.m. in Denver’s City Park, with an entrance at 17th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard; the fest proper runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 11 and 12. Admission is a suggested minimum donation of $1; for more information, go to or call 303-719-9291.
July 10-12, 2009

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Mark Dragotta

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