The Art Institute of Chicago was the site of Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date. It seems fitting that the kickoff of their five-city tour would begin where it all started in Chicago at the Art Institute. Artists, Kehinde Wiley’s painting of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama arrived at the Art Institute Friday, June 18th as part of a national tour organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
The paintings created by Kehinde Wiley, and Amy Sherald are history-making as they both become the first African Americans to be commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to create official portraits of a President or First Lady.
From Chicago to the White House and back again, the Obama Portrait exhibition is a beautiful tribute to the former President and First lady, taking the visitors on a trip down memory lane. From their first date at the Art Institute to their history-making presidency, the exhibition is a beautiful tribute to the couple that called Chicago home for so many years.
Visitors lined up around the block opening day to catch an up-close view of the Obama presidential portraits. President Obama is seated with chrysanthemums, the official flower of Chicago, and other foliage in the background representing his Chicago and Hawaiian roots. First Lady Obama is captured poised and elegant behind a light blue background. Each artist masterfully captures the President and First Lady in grand and elegant fashion.
The Obama Portrait exhibition will be at the Art Institute through Mid-August. After the portraits will head to Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Houston before returning to their permanent home in Washington DC. Tickets to the event are included in the Art Institute’s admission fee and children up to the age of 17 are also free. Visiting times must be reserved. Tickets are currently sold out through the end of June.
In addition to the exhibition, the art institute will offer a virtual conversation with Artist Amy Sherald and Former First Lady Michelle Obama, June 30 at 5 pm on YouTube. Registration is required.
For more information on the Obama Presidential Portraits, visit the Art Institute of Chicago’s website.
Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on Twitter @DanieSanders20 and FB and Instagram @DanieSandersOfficial.