The Deaf Cultural Festival goes virtual this year! Learn more about Deaf culture and American Sign Language (ASL) from Deaf artists, poets, and storytellers through art activities, ASL storytelling and performances.

The Artistry of ASL Slam

ASL Slam brings together established Deaf poets and performers to rap, rhapsodize and rehash or just relate in sign language. ASL Slam is a safe space for the Deaf community to play, experiment, and share in their native American Sign Language—a complete language with its own grammar and syntax, distinct from English. ASL relies not only on the shape of the hand(s), but body and hand position, facial expression, and body language as well.

We present ASL Slam with original poetry and storytelling in American Sign Language, inspired by works of art from the Nelson-Atkins collection. What features of ASL can you find as you watch?

Performers (in order of appearance):

  • Fernanda Machado
  • Peter Cook
  • Yanna Porcino
  • Fabio de Sa
  • Zoe McWhinney
  • Gustavo Gusamo
  • Renata Freitas
  • Ricardo Boaretto
  • Douglas Ridloff


Create Your Own Flipbook

Three original, American Sign Language-inspired flipbooks created by Deaf artist Jon Savage are available for you to create your own masterpiece.

Watch the short video for instructions.

You can download, print, and hand color or download, digitally color, and then print. Once you’re finished with that, assemble your creation.
If you share a picture of your flipbook on social media, be sure to tag the Nelson-Atkins!

Empower Flipbook

Love Flipbook

Inspire Flipbook


Kansas City-area Deaf storytellers reimagine familiar fairy tales in American Sign Language.

Marie Qualls

Marie’s mother sparked her passion for ASL storytelling and art, signing a made-up bedtime story every night. Marie, her parents, and her siblings all graduated from Kansas School for the Deaf, where she now works. Also an artist, Marie enjoys painting and teaching others to paint. Watch her lively telling of two classic fairy tales. To view with captions, click the “cc” button on the video.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Little Red Riding Hood

Stephanie Wilcox

A proud graduate of Kansas School for the Deaf, Stephanie works as a Deaf Interpreter Intern with ASL Connections and volunteers at the Museum of Deaf History, Arts, and Culture. You’ll be drawn into these two well-known tales as Stephanie brings them to life. To view with captions, click the “cc” button on the video.

Jack and the Beanstalk

The Three Little Pigs

Smartify Tour

Access American Sign Language (ASL) tours anytime, anywhere through our Smartify app! Discover the stories of several works of art narrated in ASL by Deaf actors and captioned in English. Start your tour below or download the Smartify app from Google Play or the App Store.

Our Partners

A special thanks to our community partners who continue to share their expertise, experience, and enthusiasm with us: The Whole Person, Kansas School for the Deaf, and the Museum of Deaf History, Arts & Culture.

Learn more about monthly ASL Slam events, community engagement, and collaborative projects happening nationwide at


The Deaf Cultural Festival is made possible by the Deaf Culture Project grant, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Since 2017, the Deaf Culture Project has supported other accessible and inclusive efforts at the Nelson-Atkins, including live captioning (CART), American Sign Language (ASL) video guides with captions for an immersive in-gallery experience, and tours in ASL of the museum’s collection.

Institute of Museum and Library Services