Each February, Black History Month honors the achievements and contributions of African Americans to the country. Here’s how you can celebrate throughout the Denver metro area with lectures, dramatic performances, music and more, both before and after Black History Month!

Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks

WHEN: Thru Feb. 19, 2024
WHERE: Denver Art Museum

This is the debut solo exhibition for Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo. It features more than 30 works the artist created between 2016 and 2022 that tell stories about the beauty and complexity of Black life.


WHEN: Jan. 19–Feb. 11, 2024
WHERE: NKollectiv

Kollectiv regularly features a delightful selection of styles and techniques. ReMix features work by guest artist SA Bennett alongside member artists Kelly Austin-Rolo, Rita Bhasin, Craig Demmon, Naomi Gagnon, Steve Girard Nicole Korbe, Krista Lavonas, Michele Messenger, Carolyn Miller, Jerry Severns and Carol Till. SA Bennett is primarily a figurative painter whose work celebrates the African diaspora. As a bi-racial artist originally from Jamaica, she is influenced and inspired by the African evolution into various cultures over hundreds of years. She enjoys the vibrancy and forgiveness of painting with acrylic but in her recent works has been exploring ink resist, cold-wax and oil techniques, finding they each have a magic of their own.

'Step Afrika!'

WHEN: Feb. 2, 2024
WHERE: Macky Auditorium, Boulder

"Step Afrika!" blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities, traditional Western and Southern African dances, and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into one compelling artistic experience. Performances are much more than dance shows—they integrate songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation.

Clarence Shivers: Experimenting with Form

WHEN: Feb. 2–July 6, 2024
WHERE: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, Colorado Springs

Over the course of his career, Clarence Shivers demonstrated a commitment to artistic experimentation, working across different media—both two- and three-dimensional—and cultivating a range of stylistic approaches. A Tuskegee Airman—and career military person—one of Shivers’ most celebrated works is his statue dedicated to these pilots and their legacies, located at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Shivers often returned to forms of portraiture, whether images of friends, families, musicians, civil rights leaders or others, and he represented his subjects with poignant and expressive insight. Shivers also created abstract works that demonstrate his ongoing exploration into geometric form, color and movement. This exhibition presents more than 30 works, paintings, prints and sculptures that offer an expansive view of the artist’s prolific career.

'The Nacirema Society'

WHEN: Feb. 3–March 2, 2024
WHERE: The John Hand Theater on the CFU Lowry Campus

Every year since Emancipation, the Nacirema Society of Montgomery, Alabama, introduces six elegant African American debutantes to a world of wealth, privilege and social responsibility. This year, at its 100th anniversary, with young love brewing, old flames simmering and national media attention on hand, what could go awry? This warm and funny play from the Firehouse Theater Company takes place in 1964, 10 years after the bus boycott and just as Martin Luther King Jr. is preparing for a massive voter registration drive. 

Black Violin: The Experience Tour

WHEN: Feb. 4, 2024
WHERE: Paramount Theatre

Black Violin is a hip-hop duo from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, featuring classically trained string instrumentalists Kev Marcus on violin and Wil B. on viola.

Masks of Africa: Classic and Contemporary

WHEN: Feb. 4–April 28, 2024
WHERE: McNichols Civic Center Building, Denver Arts & Venues

Featuring a selection of African masks from Bruce Heitler's vast collection, this exhibition showcases 30 masks from several indigenous African groups. Some of the masks on display are more than a century old. The pieces highlight the varied artistic styles culturally specific to each group of African Indigenous peoples.

Jazz Roots - Five Points

WHEN: Feb. 17 and 24, 2024
WHERE: Washington St., 27th St., 26th Ave. and Welton St.

Five Points, once known as the "Harlem of the West," holds a significant place in jazz history. From the 1930s to the 1950s, renowned jazz musicians performed in local clubs and bars, many of which still stand today. Jazz Roots aims to honor this vibrant history through live performances, spoken word poetry, dance and more. This year's free event will feature a diverse lineup of musicians, poets, and dancers who will captivate audiences with their performances. Some notable performers at Jazz Roots 2024 include Queen City Jazz Band, Gabe Mervine Jazz Trio and Taryn Newborn.

Denver Concert Band Presents Annual Guest Artist Concert

WHEN: Feb. 18, 2024
WHERE: Lone Tree Arts Center, Lone Tree

The Denver Concert Band looks forward to delivering an interesting program celebrating African American and women composers. With a long tradition of inviting a guest artist to share the stage with the band, this year the band welcomes Dr. Wesley Broadnax, Director of Bands at the University of Northern Colorado, who will be conducting the band in “Dances in the Canebrakes” by Florence Price. Come enjoy the band as they honor the cultural contribution of these diverse composers!

'An Old School R&B Live Radio Musical Revue'

WHEN: Feb. 25, 2024
WHERE: The Clocktower Cabaret

The Clocktower Cabaret presents "An Old School R&B Live Radio Musical Revue," combining the dynamic vocal stylings of the One on One show, plus the phenomenal richness of local iconic female vocalists, all accompanied by the amazing rhythm section of the MilesApart Band. Enjoy tunes from the 60s through the 90s Motown, Philadelphia, Chi-Town, Memphis hits and more!

'Springtime in Mourning'

WHEN: Feb. 29–March 1, 2024
WHERE: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Northglenn
Exciting and evocative, Cleo II (the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance 2nd company) presents "Springtime In Mourning" in celebration of the power of the human spirit and the promise of hope. Featured works will include "Springtime In Mourning" by Cedric D. Hall, set to the music of Aaron Copeland; "Check Cashing Day" by Cleo Parker Robinson; and "Timber" by Winifred R. Harris. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance uses the universal language of dance to honor the African Diaspora, explore the human condition, champion social justice, unite people of all ages and races and ultimately celebrate the complexity of life through movement.

Arts of Africa Gallery

WHERE: Denver Art Museum
The Arts of Africa gallery showcases highlights from the museum’s collection, which encompasses about 800 objects, largely from the 19th and 20th centuries, across media—including painting, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and jewelry, as well as recent acquisitions of contemporary art. The updated presentation, spanning 2,300 square feet on level 4 of the Hamilton Building, offers a collection that illustrates the diversity, relevance, and dynamism of creativity and culture across Africa. The gallery presents an expansive and inclusive view of the arts from the African continent with works from the sub-Sahara, Egypt and North Africa organized around three anchoring themes: the self, power and transformation, and manifestation.

Buffalo Soldiers: reVision

WHERE: Fort Garland Museum, Ft. Garland
This unique exhibit at the intersection of history, place and art examines the complex legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers in the American West, tracing their history from slavery to service and highlighting the relations between ethnic, gender and racial identities in the landscape of the southern Colorado borderlands. The exhibit features the work of eight artists from across the United States, including Chip Thomas (lead artist), Esther Belin, Mahogany L. Browne, Rosie Carter, Gaia, André Leon Gray, Theodore Harris and Tom Judd.

Black History Month Public Art Tour

WHERE: Various locations throughout Denver
Embark on a self-guided tour of public art by Black artists and works celebrating Black history. You’ll find art in many different forms, including colorful murals, sculptures, abstract paintings and mosaics—many by local artists. These works celebrate Black History in Denver, Colorado and the West.


Mark Your Calendar for These Upcoming Events

'Sphinx Virtuosi'

WHEN: March 20, 2024
Newman Center for the Performing Arts
Inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes and Julia Alvarez, this dynamic, inspiring, self-conducted chamber orchestra will present a program showcasing the beauty and tradition of excellence inherent in classical music created and performed by Black and Latinx composers for many generations.

'A Raisin in the Sun'

WHEN: March 24–April 14, 2024
Newman Center for the Performing Arts
Be among the first people in Colorado to experience this powerful, musical retelling of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic, “A Raisin in the Sun.” This soulful and inspiring musical about a proud Black family’s quest for a better life in 1951 Chicago. Three generations of Walter Younger’s family live in a single, cramped apartment. But when Walter’s father passes away, and the family receives a substantial life insurance payout, grief gives way to hope. Walter wants to use the money to open a small business, while his mother wants to invest in homeownership outside the impoverished community in Southside Chicago and to pay for her daughter’s medical school education. 

'Urban Bush Women: Legacy + Lineage + Liberation'

WHEN: April 12, 2024
Newman Center for the Performing Arts
Founded in 1984 by dance icon Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women’s groundbreaking work centers women(+) and members of the African diaspora. "Legacy + Lineage + Liberation" is an evening of classic works that transcend genre, illuminating overlooked perspectives that contribute to our national conversation around equity and justice.

'Cullud Wattah'

WHEN: May 18–June 15, 2024
WHERE: Curious Theatre Company

This time-bending play takes on the Flint Water Crisis and dives deep into the poisonous choices of the outside world, the contamination within, and how we make the best decisions for our families’ futures when there are no real, present options. This Regional Premiere features an intergenerational cast of all Black women joined in song, in reckoning and in ritual.

Colorado Black Arts Festival

WHEN: July 12–14, 2024
WHERE: City Park

Colorado Black Arts Festival proudly presents its 38th annual celebration of African American art and culture. Enjoy a Colorado experience like no other in historic Denver City Park West.


Ways to Celebrate Year-Round

The Black American West Museum & Heritage Center (former home of Denver's first African American female physician, Justina Ford) celebrates Black history year-round! The museum is open for limited, scheduled slots. If you are interested in visiting the museum, please sign up here. Check their website at bawmhc.org for both virtual and in-person events as they are announced. 

And the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library serves as a neighborhood branch, a research library and museum in the Five Points neighborhood. It preserves and showcases the many contributions of African Americans to Colorado and the American West. Tours and programming for adults and families are available.


Historical Spotlight: Barney Ford, Pioneering Hotelier and Restauranteur


2018 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - Barney Ford

Barney Ford

Barney Ford has one of the most remarkable stories of anyone who has ever been in Colorado’s hospitality industry. He was posthumously inducted into the Denver & Colorado Travel Industry Hall of Fame.

Photo credit: Denver Firefighters Museum