African American Dress 
and the Aesthetics of Identity

The Will to Adorn: African American Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity is a multi-year collaborative folk cultural research and public presentation project initiated by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Through the work and perspectives of museum, academic, and community scholars, as well as community-based cultural practitioners including artisans and designers from across the nation, this project explores the diversity of African American identities as expressed through the cultural aesthetics and traditional arts of the body, dress, and adornment. This ongoing research will be shared through future Smithsonian public programs, including a Folklife Festival program in 2013, an exhibition, as well as through publications and online materials.Will to Adorn – Smithsonian Festival 2013

This amazing jewelry collection is worn by Mr. Samuel.
This amazing jewelry collection is worn by Mr. Samuel.

God’s Gang Planting Dreams has involved youth participants to record and document African American style exemplars and creative artists.  Visit

Call 773 213-0029 or email to participate or learn more.