Champions Of The Arts


Kelly Crow: Obamas Choose Rising Stars To Paint Their Official Portraits

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has commissioned a pair of rising-star artists—New York’s Kehinde Wiley and Baltimore’s Amy Sherald—to paint its official portraits of the former president and first lady. Both artists have exhibited widely, but this presidential assignmentamounts to a coup as they follow in the footsteps of artists like Gilbert Stuart, whose portraits of George Washington are considered masterpieces. The Obamas also made a point to champion the arts during their time in the White House, which has heightened art-world curiosity over which artists they would choose.



The Smithsonian confirmed Thursday that former President Barack Obama has asked to be painted by Mr. Wiley, a 40-year-old artist best known for his vivid portraits of young, black men in imperious, Old-Master poses. Ms. Sherald, a 44-year-old artist known for painting surreal portraits of elegant black women, will paint Ms. Obama. Ms. Sherald’s signature style is to use a palette of grays instead of skin tones to capture her subjects’ faces and hands. Anticipation in art circles is high because the Obamas have chosen artists with major followings. The Smithsonian’s set of presidential and first-lady portraits remains distinct from the White House’s own collection of portraits, though. Mr. Wiley and Ms. Sherald are the first black artists hired by the Smithsonian to paint a president and his first lady.

More here


152 Responses to “Champions Of The Arts”

  1. 1 GGail
    October 14, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Good West Coast morning NW & TOD family.
    Thanks NW for highlighting these two artists!

    I am so proud of the Obama’s. They are always lifting exposure of the Arts and artists. I can’t wait to see the portraits 🙂

  2. 2 sherijr
    October 14, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Wow I really, really like these artists.

  3. 3 JER
    October 14, 2017 at 11:39 am

  4. 10 JER
    October 14, 2017 at 11:53 am

    • 11 CEB
      October 14, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      This is the Obamas’ legacy. All of the young people that they met with here and around the world, listening to and encouraging them is an investment in a better future for us all.

      • October 14, 2017 at 5:33 pm

        Plus, putting the records online will allow more than just scholars to view the scanned copies of Obama’s records and photographs, Ifill said. Playwrights, poets, teachers, civic leaders and hundreds of people who don’t have the resources to travel will get to look at the original source materials and find inspiration for new works.

  5. 13 CEB
    October 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    My Twitter boycott brought my anger and anxiety down and helped me to have a better day and a more positive outlook which I will continue for awhile longer. Instead of daily doses of outrage, I will work on self-care and what I can do in small ways to make things better. Like so many here, this has been a difficult year and I hate to think how I have allowed it to be eaten up with depression, hate, anger, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. I am reclaiming my time and my life and refusing to be terrorized any longer by the daily onslaughts of the idiocy and incompetence coming out of DC. I will check a few reliable sources for a peep at what is going on that I can act on, but will give most platforms a skip. I stopped watching network news years ago and even when I did watch, it was limited. Life is too short to give any hour to negativity.

    • 14 Susanne
      October 14, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Delurking to applaud your decision, CEB. We have to guard against despair. The blessing that is TOD continues to be a safe place. I am certain that is because of the good folks here, and the fact that we have been strengthened by the awesome years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Yes we can, and yes we will.

  6. 15 mtmarilyn
    October 14, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Good morning fellow TODDers. My friends that live in Santa Rosa have been keeping all their friend appraised via email. This morning he sent a link to an article in the NYTimes that offers great reporting and graphics. Mark worked for the government for over 30 years. He was an expert and writing disaster scenarios. He said this is worse than anything he thought could happen.


  7. 16 Nena20409
    October 14, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Hello for the State of 10K plus Lakes. It’s partly cloudy today.
    Thanks to NW, TOD Community Charges FORWARD!
    Congrats, GGail on your Solid Au ⭐ Furst 😉
    {{{ ❤ Chips ❤ }}}

  8. 17 Nena20409
    October 14, 2017 at 1:06 pm

  9. 18 whenpamelawandered
    October 14, 2017 at 1:09 pm


  10. 20 Nena20409
    October 14, 2017 at 1:46 pm

  11. 24 Nena20409
    October 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    And Now, Ophelia is Now, a Cat 3.

  12. October 14, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    • 26 pkayden
      October 15, 2017 at 8:42 am

      Evangelicals who support Trump are not following the example left by Jesus Christ. Trump is as far from Christian morality and values as a lion is from vegetarianism. Evangelicals have a lot to answer for in their support of this bigot and liar.

  13. October 14, 2017 at 3:01 pm

  14. 29 whenpamelawandered
    October 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    The story
    Michael Teeter
    11 hrs ·
    The reason Mr. Kaepernick kneels.
    Please share, if you like, by copying and pasting.
    Did you know this?
    Aug 14, 2016- Colin Kaepernick sits for the national anthem…and no one noticed.
    Aug 20th, 2016- Colin again sits, and again, no one noticed.
    Aug 26th, 2016- Colin sits and this time he is met with a level of vitriol unseen against an athlete. Even the future President of the United States took shots at him while on the campaign trail.
    Colin went on to explain his protest had NOTHING to with the military, but he felt it hard to stand for a flag that didn’t treat people of color fairly.
    On Aug 30th, 2016 Nate Boyer, a former Army Green Beret turned NFL long snapper, penned an open letter to Colin in the Army Times. In it he expressed how Colin’s sitting affected him.
    Then, a strange thing happened. Colin was able to do what most Americans to date have not…
    He listened.
    In his letter, Mr. Boyer writes:
    “I’m not judging you for standing up for what you believe in. It’s your inalienable right. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I’ve never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you’ve gone through is as ignorant as someone who’s never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it’s like to go to war.
    Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it.”
    Mr. Boyer goes on to write “There are already plenty people fighting fire with fire, and it’s just not helping anyone or anything. So I’m just going to keep listening, with an open mind.
    I look forward to the day you’re inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I’ll be standing right there next to you.”
    Empathy and understanding was shown by Mr. Boyer… and Mr. Kaepernick reciprocated.
    Colin invited Nate to San Diego where the two had a 90 minute discussion, and Nate proposed Colin kneel instead of sit.
    But why kneel? In a military funeral, after the flag is taken off the casket of the fallen military member, it is smartly folded 13 times and then presented to the parents, spouse or child of the fallen member by a fellow service member while KNEELING.
    The two decided that kneeling for the flag would symbolize his reverence for those that paid the ultimate sacrifice while still allowing Colin to peacefully protest the injustices he saw.
    Empathy, not zealotry under the guise of patriotism, is the only way meaningful discussion can be had. Mr. Kaepernick listened to all of you that say he disrespects the military and extended an olive branch to find a peace.
    When will America listen to him?
    Thanks, Mudge Rudiger. We can all learn from this backstory. The truth often lies in the middle. Seek to learn the opposing side’s point. ~

  15. October 14, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Oh, wow.

  16. October 14, 2017 at 3:18 pm

  17. 34 JER
    October 14, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    • 35 pkayden
      October 15, 2017 at 8:16 am

      Lovely. The world wanted to see her elected.

      • 36 carolyn
        October 15, 2017 at 3:32 pm

        Yes it did. And they are still perplexed and upset about the election of the fraud. Glad to see people who appreciate Hillary. One thing I notice about UK and other academic robes, is their use of beautiful color. Hate to say it, but ours look drab compared to theirs!

  18. 37 desertflower
    October 14, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Nicolle Wallace needed to keep her mouth shut and listen….otherwise, must see.

    • 38 pkayden
      October 15, 2017 at 8:20 am

      I cannot watch anything where Nichole Wallace is speaking. She’s an awful person who supported Palin in front of the public when she knew that she couldn’t even vote for her.

  19. October 14, 2017 at 5:18 pm

  20. 40 Nena20409
    October 14, 2017 at 6:21 pm

  21. 42 Nena20409
    October 14, 2017 at 6:22 pm

  22. 43 Nena20409
    October 14, 2017 at 6:46 pm

  23. 45 Nena20409
    October 14, 2017 at 6:56 pm

  24. 51 Nena20409
    October 14, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    • 52 amk for obama
      October 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      yeah, hoo cudda thunk 8 years of wanton sabotage would come back and bite your own ass.

      fuck’em all.

  25. 53 desertflower
    October 14, 2017 at 8:06 pm

  26. 54 arapaho415
    October 14, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    GA/GE TODville.

    Thanks, NerdyW for links to these articles!

    As unending natural disasters continue to target the US, here’s how FUBAR disrespects those who serve this nation.

    Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands:

  27. October 14, 2017 at 8:40 pm

  28. October 14, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    from Chance the Rapper

  29. 59 globalcitizenlinda
    October 14, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    I hope that fellow members of the TOD village can join me in dancing and singing when Special Counsel Mueller issues subpoenas for the homegrown demagogue and his network of fellow scumbags. Yes, it may be true that some of you have not shaken your bodies so vigorously in a while …. but please try to reserve this for the global street party that would ensure .. there is bound to be dancing , singing and all kinds of celebration in the streets … I wouldn’t miss it

  30. 62 amk for obama
    October 14, 2017 at 9:41 pm

  31. 65 amk for obama
    October 14, 2017 at 9:45 pm

  32. 76 amk for obama
    October 14, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    I would drink it.

  33. 77 amk for obama
    October 14, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    aaand I am outta here.

  34. 79 mtmarilyn
    October 15, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Happy Birthday, Roberta from Minnesota. I late in the day, but hope you had a great day.

  35. 82 sherijr
    October 15, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I forgot to say: Yay Baltimore! for Amy Sherald. My middle son & I were literally talking last week about all the artsy talent in Baltimore- as my youngest son, who graduates in 2018 wants to go to college to study music & fashion. I didn’t know about Ms. Sherald, but love her art having now seen it.

  36. October 15, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Cannot tolerate this both sides garbage. NOPE.

  37. October 15, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Ok in the days of Trump TV 24/7, my mom was looking at the Animal Channel an EWTN to a avoid his orangeness. Now he has invaded both channels. Anybody have any suggestions other than QVC?

  38. 88 desertflower
    October 15, 2017 at 10:16 am

    h/t to BJ for posting this interesting pieces..

    • 96 pkayden
      October 15, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      That was hilarious!! SNL is killing it although I’m still furious that they allowed Trump to host the show during the campaign season.

  39. October 15, 2017 at 10:57 am

  40. 100 JER
    October 15, 2017 at 11:08 am

  41. 103 desertflower
    October 15, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Who’s side are they on?

  42. October 15, 2017 at 11:13 am

    • 106 CEB
      October 15, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      This is incredible. That scholars and professional mental health community are doing this screams that we are in a clear and present danger with this deplorable man in the WH. How much longer will the GOP ignore what even they themselves know to be true?

  43. October 15, 2017 at 11:20 am

    The Democratic Party is pissing me off and pushing me away HARD.

  44. 108 JER
    October 15, 2017 at 12:17 pm

  45. October 15, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Sweetness Break:

  46. 115 desertflower
    October 15, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Everyone saw this, right?

  47. 116 JER
    October 15, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    • October 15, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    • 118 CEB
      October 15, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      I hope the other women who have been victimized by the sleaze ball will now feel brave enough to come out and join her in the pursuit of justice and in taking back their lives. I hope and pray that they get strong, principled, fearless and smart representation who will have their backs throughout. I also hope that the many women who had so little love or dignity for and about themselves and other women, that they can allow themselves to feel, to recognize that which is true and to work on healing themselves and doing all that they can to help get this sexual predator out of the White House.

  48. 121 desertflower
    October 15, 2017 at 3:09 pm

  49. October 15, 2017 at 3:12 pm

  50. 123 desertflower
    October 15, 2017 at 3:18 pm


  51. October 15, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Well, well. DISCOVERY should be quite interesting.

  52. October 15, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    WOWIE: Our California State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León has declared his candidacy for Senate, running against DiFi:

  53. October 15, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Our lovely friend, Matteo:

  54. October 15, 2017 at 5:08 pm


  55. 133 Nena20409
    October 15, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Hello, TODbots
    ❤ & Respect for TODville Community.

  56. 135 Nena20409
    October 15, 2017 at 5:22 pm

  57. 136 Nena20409
    October 15, 2017 at 5:25 pm

  58. 137 Nena20409
    October 15, 2017 at 5:26 pm

  59. 139 Nena20409
    October 15, 2017 at 5:54 pm

  60. 140 Nena20409
    October 15, 2017 at 6:02 pm

  61. October 15, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Drillerson said today Trump had instructed him to continue diplomatic efforts “until the first bomb drops.” (Reuters)
    The only one stirring the pot here is the Deranged Distraction Dicktraitor who has nothing beter to do. Media please note that North Koreans
    were in the U.S recently asking GOP officials ‘how to respond’ to Trump threats. North Korean diplomats expressed their wish to talk.
    Liddle Trump and all standing behind him are responsible for this. -How long?

  62. 142 Nena20409
    October 15, 2017 at 6:05 pm

  63. 143 desertflower
    October 15, 2017 at 6:22 pm

  64. 144 desertflower
    October 15, 2017 at 6:25 pm

  65. 145 desertflower
    October 15, 2017 at 6:26 pm

  66. 146 desertflower
    October 15, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    I will sing and dance in the street

  67. October 15, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Dicktraitor cow-towing to that pit of excrement Bannon who wants to turn his fave gobbledy gook book “The Fourth Turning” into reality.
    Written by two amateur white male historians looking for pop culture fame. We know the BannonTrumpPutin approach of isolationism is an excuse to give white males like themselves ultimate power via more ‘efficient’ authoritarian proposals, minimal (corporate) government,
    subjugation of non-whites. Sauron seeks dominion over all.

  68. 149 catrst
    October 15, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Thank you, NW, as always.

  69. 150 Nena20409
    October 15, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    • 151 nathkatun7
      October 15, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      Trump is utterly despicable. He may be the President of the United States, but he is one the most vile and disgusting person in the world. Shame on all the people who voted for him. And shame on all the people who didn’t vote, or voted for candidates who had no chance of winning, and thus indirectly making it possible for this most vile person to be elected President of the United States.

  70. 152 Nena20409
    October 15, 2017 at 8:13 pm

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