Honoring Artistic Voices of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Honoring Artistic Voices of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

The Cultural Office is a champion of activities, programs and philosophies that break down barriers to the arts, respect risk-taking and artistic freedom, enhance our community’s unique identity, commit to excellence and education, and are genuinely inclusive of all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, physical/mental abilities, or sexual orientation.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement in Colorado Springs, around the U.S., and around the world, is mourning violence and demanding changes to how racism is enshrined in American life and justice. This height of the movement, which began in 2013, is unfolding during the global COVID-19 pandemic. With the backdrop of these historic times,  deep unrest, and social pain, local artists are producing powerful work. The Cultural Office aspires to amplify their voices and honor the role of the arts in processing and advancing our community’s dialogue. Right now especially, we will focus on elevating the voices of artists of color. We will continue to add to this page and post on our Facebook page.

"Art helps us identify with one another and expands our notion of we - from the local to the global."

“Will the U.S. Ever Be Us” by Rachel Riley 

In this photography exhibit of protest images from across the U.S. and here in the local community, Rachel Riley captures the solidarity, sorrow, anger, fear, triumph and progress of humanity demanding change. See her Artist Statement here

(Exhibited Feb. 2021 at Cottonwood Center for the Arts)

“Colorado Black Voices Matter” Open Mics 

The award-winning “Black Voices Matter” open mic series by Poetry 719 weighs in on the current cultural moment in the words of local black poets live online. For recordings of past events and to attend upcoming open mics, visit @Poetry719 on Facebook. 


“Dear Black Man”

The local creative team at My Black Colorado released this original video, “Dear Black Man,” on Father’s Day 2020.

(Released: June 21, 2020)

“Capturing Essence” paper cast sculpture series by Jasmine Dillavou

Poem accompanying this piece:

“You are met with violence,
You are met with fear,

You are also equipped
with the weapons of
your ancestors.
While they prayed, you marched
knife in hand –
you are a body on fire-
you are a street hero-
you are alive with their magica.

Don’t you dare walk in fear …”

(Preview images released: June 13, 2020. Gallery exhibition opens July 3 at Kreuser Gallery.)

“Strange Fruit”

Colorado Springs dancer Maliah Howard interprets Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” (recorded in 1939) for 2020.

(Released: June 8, 2020)


Colorado’s 2020 Poetry Out Loud champion is Kiya Cockrell, who attends Fountain Valley School. Kiya is using her voice through poetry to  draw connections between the Black Lives Matter movement and the 200-year-old poem, “Grief” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Click to see her featured on Denver’s CBS Channel 4.

(Released: June 8, 2020)

“They Don’t Really Care About Us”

Lyrics by Michael Jackson rapped by Brandon Bornes of My Black Colorado, accompanied by dancer John Gibbs, filmed in Acacia Park in Downtown Colorado Springs. 

(Released: May 31, 2020)


We’ve seen E. De La perform “I’M HUMAN” beautifully live – now, her newest music video of the song is shot in the Knobhill Urban Arts District of Colorado Springs, featuring street murals by local and national artists.

(Released: June 3, 2020)

Virtual Open Mics by Poetry 719

Powerful original poems from our community are being shared through a virtual open mic at Poetry 719’s Facebook Page. Thank you, Poetry 719, for the spaces you create for marginalized voices and for helping us all to be better listeners to them.  Pictured is poet Sipho N’Jedi T’Challa at the mic for Poetry 719, photographed by Nathan Toner Photography.


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