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, and 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 collaborative research is shared through public programs including the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Program, as well as through publications, a dynamic public website, and a Will to Adorn app available through iTunes. Future plans include the development of local exhibitions and community-based local presentations.
A special “Will to Adorn” station will be featured at the Great Lakes Folk Festival where festival goers can share their stories and view objects of adornment.