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The Arts

Watch Meeting—Dec. 31st 1862—Waiting for the Hour by William Tolman Carlton (1863)
  • Watch
  • Equality

Take a look at how President Obama honored this chapter of American history.

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The image is a combination of the headshots of Jessica Teal, Laura Olin, and Jeron Smith. From [L to R]: The first person is Jessica Teal: she has pale skin, blonde hair, blue eyes, and is wearing a red short-sleeved shirt. She is smiling at the camera. The second person is Jeron Smith: he has brown skin, closely cut black hair, and a mustache. He is wearing a dark blazer with a white t-shirt underneath. In the background of Jeron's headshot is an industrial set with orange lighting and tall metal beams. The third person is Laura Olin: she has pale skin, blue eyes, and blond hair that hits her shoulders. She is wearing a blue and white shirt and smiling at the camera. Behind Laura are green trees.
  • Presidential History
  • Alumni

Meet the minds behind the design, voice, and digital strategy for the Obama campaign and White House.

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A group of high school students with a range of light to deep skin tones pose around  Gallerist Easy Otabo and artist Michael C. Thorpe. In the background, a monitor displays the Obama Foundation rising sun logo and reads, “Obama Foundation.”
  • Youth
  • Futures Series

See how the students explored expression and possibilities at EXPO Chicago.

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Kori Coleman, a Black woman with a deep skin tone, stands in the middle of a four person string quartet. They are a range of medium to deep skin tones and are holding a viola, violin, and cello. All are wearing shades of brown. Credit: Seed Lynn
  • Leaders
  • Chicago

Ahead of her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, hear how one Obama Leader leverages the power of music to educate, entertain, and heal her community.

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missing
  • Youth
  • MBK Alliance

The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance released a Black History Month reading list for young leaders

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Brandon Breaux, a Black man with a deep skin tone, stands over five seated students. On the table is an iPad and illustrations. He is wearing a mint beanie. Space art is on the wall in the background.
  • First Look
  • Chicago

Artist Brandon Breaux and Dyett High School students showcase the power of culture and community.

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President Obama poses for a photo with Guitars Over Guns participants. He is surrounded by 17 others with a range of light to deep skin tones.
  • MBK Alliance
  • Youth

Learn more about Nathan, his experience at Guitars Over Guns, and his plans for the future.

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Raven Smith, a Black woman with a medium skin tone, smiles at the camera. She is wearing a long sleeved white shirt and red plaid pants. Her arms are crossed and she has long black hair.
  • Youth
  • Chicago

Young Chicagoan Raven Smith created the t-shirt company Straight From The GO – All Good Things From ChicaGO to dispel negative perceptions about violence in Chicago

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President Obama is shown shaking the hand of a young man with a deep skin tone while surrounded 
by other women with deep and medium skin tones.
  • Alumni
  • The Obama Administration

This Obama alum is using stories from our past to help communities move forward today.

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(1980) Chicago Defender photographer, Antonio Dickey photographing dancer Tarin Springs practicing dance routine.
  • Presidential History
  • Chicago

Sometimes history is shaped not by the famous figures in front of the camera, but by someone behind it.

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 President Obama and Michelle Obama stand outside during the day shaking hands with youth. They have a ranging of medium to deep skin tones
  • Building the Center
  • Chicago

Revisit the highlights from our work in 2021, which included breaking ground on the Obama Presidential Center, recognizing important milestones from President and Mrs. Obama’s time in office, empowering and connecting leaders around the world, and more.

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Pooja poses in her studio with her large paintings in the background.
  • Chicago
  • Equality

As a visual artist in Chicago’s vibrant art community, Pooja Pittie is on a life-long journey to accept the unexpected obstacles in her life, while advocating for better representation and support for artists with disabilities.

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President Obama, his family, and thousands of people, and John Lewis cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge hand in hand.
  • Watch
  • Building the Center

Watch talented Chicago poet Leslé Honoré recite "Bridges," a poem inspired by the powerful speech President Obama delivered on the 50th anniversary of the marches from Montgomery to Selma. An excerpt from the speech will appear on the exterior of the Obama

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The White House portrait of President Obama sitting down in front of a background with flowers. He is wearing an all black suit with a white button up shirt.
  • Watch
  • Barack Obama

Artists Kehinde Wiley of Brooklyn, New York, and Amy Sherald of Baltimore, Maryland, were selected to paint President Obama and Mrs. Obama respectively

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A man stands in the spray of a fire hydrant.
  • Chicago
  • Changemakers

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, we sat down with Mateo Zapata, a Chicago-based photographer documenting the public health crisis, the ways it’s disproportionately affecting his community, and the systemic inequality it has brought to light.

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Will Calloway
  • Watch
  • Chicago

Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Will Calloway became all too familiar with the disinvestment and systemic discrimination that create the conditions for gun violence to surface. 

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Christopher LeMark, a Black man with a medium skin tone stands in front of a large group of people as they pose for a picture. All have a range of light to deep skin tones. Each person is wearing a brown crew neck that reads, “Coffee, Hip-Hop, & Mental Health.”
  • Watch
  • Health & Wellbeing

Discover how Christopher LeMark uses coffee and Hip-Hop to help heal communities-–and how you can get involved!

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Tye Moores laughs and smiles.
  • Chicago
  • Changemakers

When we wanted to lift up the stories of Antonio Davis, Asiaha Butler, and Kemdah Stroud—three grassroots leaders working on the South Side of Chicago to make a difference—we turned to Chicago-based artist and photographer Tyesha Moores.

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  • Chicago
  • Community Engagement

Activist and violence interrupter William Calloway grew up in South Shore, the same Chicago neighborhood where Michelle Obama was born and raised, and the future home of the Obama Presidential Center. See how Will is protecting his community while challeng

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Leo Mercer - Young Leader Spotlight
  • MBK Alliance
  • Changemakers

Meet Leo Mercer! Leo is an artist and community organizer, born and raised in Oakland, California.

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A piece of Mrs Obama is pictured on a white plate.
  • Michelle Obama
  • Obama Picks

Now you can make the former first lady’s holiday favorite at home!

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A painting of Michael Jordan, a man with a deep skin tone and short hair jumping into the air in a red basketball uniform holding a basketball.
  • Changemakers
  • Your Voice

Artist Lynell Jinks creates masterpieces on his childrens’ paper lunch bags every single week. He uses the images to inspire them to be passionate about their talents, and to pursue their biggest dreams. It sure beats PB&J.

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The Obama Foundation Logo
  • Watch
  • Chicago

This afternoon, Chance the Rapper shared the message below with the Obama Foundation email list announcing that he will be teaming up with us to creative direct the concert at the conclusion of the inaugural summit on November 1st

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An invitation to brave space
  • Event
  • Changemakers

Emily May, a New Yorker who brings people with diverse views together over a shared meal, will be one of the hundreds of civic leaders that will join us at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago later this fall

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President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel take the stage for remarks at the Krün Town Hall in Krün, Germany, Sunday, June 7, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
  • Watch
  • Barack Obama

On May 25, 2017, President Obama joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel and four young leaders for a conversation on the topic of “Being Involved in Democracy: Taking on Responsibility Locally and Globally.”

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Guitars in Green Room during set-up for Country Music in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, July 21, 2009, in Washington (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
  • Listen
  • Chicago

We asked you to share songs that remind you of home and inspire you to be involved in your communities. From India to Indiana, you delivered.

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The Obama Foundation will have projects, programs, and digital networks all over the world. We are looking for passionate people from your community to join us. Will you join us?