NBAF is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to expose, educate, engage and entertain audiences by presenting and supporting the art and artists of African descent.
NBAF is committed to continuing its legacy of providing stellar artistic and educational programs across the disciplines of music, dance, film, theatre, visual and literary arts
Based in Atlanta, GA, NBAF is recognized as the oldest multidisciplinary arts organization in the United States focused exclusively on the art and artists of African descent. In 2008, the United States Congress recognized NBAF for its importance to the “cultural fabric of greater Atlanta and all of America.”
Through its annual public programs, world-class performances, commissioned works, arts education and public programs, NBAF offers local, national and international audiences experiences that are extraordinary and enriching.
NBAF was founded in 1987 by the Fulton County Arts Council under the guidance of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners in Atlanta, Georgia, following a study commissioned in 1986 by Michael Lomax, then Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. The first NBAF festival was produced in 1988.
Over its three-decade-long history, NBAF has attracted millions of people from the region, across the country and around the world to events and programs that are entertaining, educational and enriching. By featuring artists from the African Diaspora, including the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America, NBAF promotes art and culture as vehicles for bringing diverse communities together..
Over the years, NBAF has featured many talented artists such as: Maya Angelou, Wynton Marsalis, The O’Jays, Toni Blackman, The Manzari Brothers, Pearl Cleage, Harolyn Blackwell, Varnette Honeywood, Spike Lee, Katherine Dunham, Harry Belafonte, Maurice Hines, Maxi Priest, Sonia Sanchez, Radcliffe Bailey, Bill T. Jones, Youssou N’Dour, Giwayen Mata, Carrie Mae Weems, Julie Dash, Amiri Baraka, Tito Puente, Ousmane Sembene, National Ballet de Guinea, Gladys Knight, Les Nubians, Philadanco, The Heath Brothers, Cicely Tyson, August Wilson, Chakaia Booker, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Louis DelSarte, Alfre Woodard, Angie Stone, Omar Sosa, Jessica Care Moore, Nikki Giovanni, Russell Gunn, Gregory Porter, among many others.
The other centerpiece of NBAF’s work is to identify talent and encourage creativity among emerging artists, promoting diversity and success by uplifting the next generation of artists. NBAF’s youth arts education programs present the rich history of Black art, provide artistic and professional development for public school students, improve academic success and open pathways to higher education. NBAF also showcases emerging artists to help market their work and advance their careers, while exposing the community to amazing up and coming artistic talent.
NBAF is governed by its Board of Directors and supported by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, the City of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs and by local and national government funders, corporations, foundations, businesses, and individuals.