Performances ended after 12 years in 1980 as the result of governmental funding cuts, poor management, and artistic infighting. "The organization died mainly because it relied on federal money," stated Douglas Barnett, founder and a Black Arts/West director in the early years. "Theaters just can't survive that way." Actor Kabibi Monie, another founding artist, said in 1996, "Black Arts/West was extremely important to all the community. It saved my life, was a positive family unit, and I think our young people need more of these alternatives right now."