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Founder, artistic director of Colorado Black Arts Festival passes away

Colorado Black Arts Festival
Posted at 10:08 PM, Mar 28, 2023

DENVER — M. Perry Ayers, the founder and artistic director of the Colorado Black Arts Festival, has passed away, organizers announced Tuesday. He was 71 years old.

Ayers was a man of many talents — a dancer with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance in the 70s and a metal art and jewelry artist. The Colorado Black Arts Festival (CBAF) called Ayers "a true visionary."

In 1986, Ayers and his brother, Oyedele Oginga, founded the Denver Black Arts Festival, which later became the Colorado Black Arts Festival.

“What an outstanding and awesome man that lived a great inspirational life,” Dr. Michael A. Williams, music director and minister of music at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church, said in a statement.

Ayers died on March 23, according to CBAF. A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. on April 6 at Park Hill United Methodist Church, located at 5209 Montview Boulevard in Denver.

The Ayers family requests donations to the Colorado Black Arts Festival in lieu of flowers. To donate, click here.

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