February is Black History Month, and this time is dedicated to opening our eyes to the world-changing accomplishments and struggles of Black Americans in the U.S. Celebrating Black excellence in your community is important all year round, and can be done right here in Colorado by supporting local Black-owned businesses and events. Here, we share a small selection of business owners and events that you may be interested in learning more about:
Black Experience in Art at the Dairy Arts Center
Black Experience in Art at the Dairy Arts Center will commence on February 19 at 3pm. This series will be presented by NAACP Boulder County, and will feature numerous live performances by Black artists. Visitors may also view the Withers Collection of Civil Rights photography and enjoy a celebration with music, dances, poetry readings, and refreshments.
Kaci Taylor, Founder of THE5WH
There are very few Black architects in the state of Colorado (and even fewer who are women). Kaci Taylor, founder of the firm THE5WH, designs with people in mind and is bringing new ideas to Denver. She specializes in single and multifamily residences, and is also experienced in mid-sized commercial and mixed-use projects. She aims to play a role in making Denver a more inclusive city and makes conversation a key component of the design process
Keia McSwain of Kimberly + Cameron Interiors
Keia McSwain resides in Denver and owns Kimberly + Cameron Interiors. In addition to running her full-service firm, she’s president of the nonprofit organization Black Interior Designers Network. If you’d like to work with talented Black designers, you can find connections through this network, or if you’re a Black designer yourself, you may join the network for resources and support. Those residing in Colorado should know that Keia McSwain’s Kimberly + Cameron Interiors expertly handles a wide array of projects and begins with a thorough consultation.
Narkita Gold, Denver-Based Artist
Narkita Gold is a Denver-based artist and communications professional. Her stunning digital photography skills meld with her background in storytelling to create unforgettable works of art. Her portrait and interview series, Black in Denver, critically explores identity and explores Black life in Denver through a series of interviews and surveys. Narkita Gold provided a virtual studio tour for the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Arts in March 2021, and the tour can still be accessed via Instagram. To take a look at this artist’s studio, access BMoCA’s Instagram page from your account and navigate to the videos tab. From there, you’ll be able to view previously-aired studio tours.
Bret Alexandra, Design Manager at Guest House and Founder of The Fourth House
Bret Alexandra hails from Denver and is the Director of Design at Guest House. This Colorado native is passionate about creating homes that serve as a safe haven for their inhabitants. Bret recently founded The Fourth House, a wellness company with a focus on the healing aspects of plants, interior décor, and more. Her new venture was created with accessibility in mind for Black women and women of color. You can keep up with the latest updates on Bret’s new brand here.
Albert Chong, Art and History Professor at University of Colorado Boulder
Born in Jamaica to merchant Chinese and Jamaican parents, Albert Chong immigrated to the U.S. in 1977. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he received his BFA with Honors. As an active participant in the vibrant New York art community, he honed his skills and style before completing an MFA at the University of California in San Diego. Professor Chong has been part of the faculty at University of Colorado Boulder since 1991 and is recognized for his prestigious work in the field of visual arts.
Otis Taylor, Blues Musician
Chicago-born Otis Taylor moved to Denver as a child, where he discovered his love of music. He credits the Denver Folklore Center with providing much of his early inspiration. Throughout his career, Otis Taylor has traveled the world, collaborated with numerous artists, and even stepped away from the music industry to pursue high-end antiques. After returning to the music business, he has released several critically acclaimed albums. In 2019, he was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
Black excellence is all around us. The people, businesses, and events highlighted here are just a small glimpse into the accomplishments and perspectives of the Black community here in Colorado. If you’d like to learn more about Black History Month, please visit this site.