The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, a branch of The Denver Public Library, preserves and showcases the contributions of African Americans to Colorado and the West. Their programs and projects provide educational and cultural resources that focus on the history, literature, art, religion and politics of the African Americans in this community. In keeping with the Library’s mission, new stories are collected and recorded every day.
The Legacy Exhibitions will celebrate BCAARL’s 10th Anniversary in 2013 with a series of locally produced exhibitions to enhance the existing archives; bringing focus to yet undiscovered artists and professionals of color who have had an impact here. The Library will partner with area professional organizations to create engaging interactive displays inspiring higher community involvement education and support for the BCAARL and the disciplines represented.
In September 2012, The Denver Center Theatre Company opens the anniversary celebration with a retrospective on the August Wilson 10-play cannon, its historical significance to Colorado and director, Israel Hicks. Written in 1985, Wilson’s Fences premiered at DCTC in 1990 and will kick off the 2012-13 season. Artistic Director Kent Thompson’s production will be mounted under the stage direction of Lou Bellamy, OBIE Award-winning director, accomplished actor, and scholar who has worked directly with Wilson.
More exhibitions and events (Comic Book Heroes, African American Arts & Theater, Media and Publications) will be scheduled throughout 2013. This endeavor is an excellent opportunity to remind the community of the contribution of artists of color in Colorado while offering resources and opportunities.
In 2011, customers made 3.5 million visits to the Denver Public Libraries, borrowed 8.9 million items and conducted more than 46 million online transactions. The DPL as twenty four locations across the metro area.
BCAARL’S recent collaborations include:
Moving Toward Liberation: Freedom Riders Exhibition, combined powerful photography and news coverage of the 1961 Freedom Rides and examined the movement from many perspectives – that of the Riders, the Kennedy administration, and the international community.
Community Conversation featuring Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns. The first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in the history of American journalism, and was the first black American to win for individual reporting.
Breaking the Barriers: An Exhibition in Courage saw approximately 10,000 visitors who participated in tours, workshops and clinics. Hosted with the US Tennis Association.
The Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War traveling exhibition BCAARL had close to 5,000 visitors. Of those, more than 1,000 people (children, youth and adults) attended the complementary programming created.
More recent events include:
Culinary Chronicles Of Blackness Exhibit, 5/1/12
Scribes, Scholars and Storytellers, 5/15/12
Five Points Jazz Festival 5/19/12
Once Upon A time Long Ago: The Art of VanSyses Lewis, 5/19/12
Hodgue Podgue Exhibit by the Art Blaque Group, 7/13/12
The Friends of Blair Caldwell Foundation is actively seeking donations for the production of more exhibitions throughout the year to celebrate ten years and enhance the Library archives. Corporation and organizations that have supported past BCAARL programs and projects include Xcel Energy, Qwest Communications, RTD, MillerCoors, Kaiser Permanente, DPS, Facing History and Ourselves, Colorado Humanities and the Five Points Business Association to mention a few.