Thanks for an amazing CBA! We'll see you soon.


What is CBA? Art Sanctuary’s Celebration of Black Arts Festival (CBA) is one of the most prominent African-American literary and arts events in the nation putting the spotlight on black literary, visual and performing arts.  Larry Robin of Robin’s Bookstore originally founded the event as a one-day gathering of literary scholars and authors 33 years ago.  After taking over in 2001, Art Sanctuary has transformed the celebration into a month-long festival showcasing the talents of people of African descent of all ages, background and interests. This May, black art and culture will fill the city of Philadelphia with a month-long exhibit, community literary and performance events, author readings, and workshops for emerging writers and artists.  This year is sure to be the biggest celebration yet!


Great! How long does it run? From May 1st to May 31st. For specific information about all of our events, please visit our Festival-At-A-Glance page.  


What’s new about this year’s festival? What isn’t? For one, our LEGACY Awards honorees run the gamut of renowned authors to beloved Philadelphia journalists and superstar producers!!! We’ll partner up with the African-American Museum in Philadelphia to host our annual Literary Arts Conference at their location on 701 Arch Street and screen Julie Dash’s acclaimed film, Daughters of the Dust.

Art Sanctuary partner Max Rodriguez, founder of the Harlem Book Fair and Akashic Books, will offer complimentary workshop trainings for all aspiring writers in the area, and our teaching artist Andrea Walls will run a reading series for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Underground Railroad, written by our 2017 Awardee for Excellence in Literature, Colson Whitehead.

We’ll also bring back our Sanctuary LIVE! Series, a favorite from previous year’s festivals. Finally, this year will mark the start of our weekly open gallery nights, a chance for artists and art supporters alike to come together every Thursday night around great work and good refreshments.


How do I find out about all of the events? While our website will always be the most comprehensive source for updates on all CBA has to offer, we also will be sending weekly updates and reminders to our subscribers and followers! Sign up for our newsletter, and follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages to make sure you don’t miss a beat.


What happened to the Celebration of Black Writing? It’s expanded!! While CBA initially started as the Celebration of Black Writing, we’ve since added programming that spans other mediums, while keeping our foundational art form in mind. While there are still several literary opportunities from our festival, we are proud to now offer the full range of black art Philadelphia has to offer.


How much does it cost to attend these events? Most events are FREE! Please see our Festival-At- A-Glance page for more information on each event, including our LEGACY Awards and Show, which should not be missed!


Special Thanks to our 2017 Sponsors and Partners

Countdown to CBA33!

Stay tuned to our main page for new Art Sanctuary programming! 

About Us

Art Sanctuary uses the power of black art to transform individuals, create and build community and foster cultural understanding.

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