Arthur George "Art" Smith


In honor of Black History month, we will be honoring black fashion industry professionals that paved the way for so many.



Originally born in Cuba in 1917, Art moved to New York at the age of 3. After graduating from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, he worked as an assistant for a local jewelry designers. In 1946, Art open his own shop on Cornelia street, known as being the "Italian street". When opening his store, Art faced racial violence, before moving to his business back to Greenwich Village.
In Greenwich, Arts career took off, soon he was selling his jewelry in different stores all over America. Art became friends with some of the elites in the black community, like James Baldwin, Lena Horne and Charles Sebree. Through his close friend, Tally Beatty, he begun to design avant-grade pieces for black dance companies. By the early 1950s, Arts pieces were getting pictorial coverage in Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and the New York Shoppers Guide. Soon, Art became well-known and was soon regarded as one of the first African-American jewelry designers.
Art passed away in 1982 due to heart disease.
Arts work can be found in at of the Copper Hewitt Museum, Museum of Art and Design and Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

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