Tag: Barack Obama Presidential Center

Obama Presidential Center Gets Green Light from Chicago City Council

The design for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park was unveiled May 3, 2017 (photo via chicagotribune.com)

by Lolly Bowean via chicagotribune.com

Culminating a three-year campaign by the Obama Foundation, the Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved measures to allow construction of the Obama Presidential Center. The approval, which came on a 47-1 vote, means the foundation can move forward into federal reviews of the project with city support as a badge of endorsement.

No public comment was allowed during the council meeting, and aldermen discussed the matter for just over an hour — a contrast to the extended and heated debate last week during a Plan Commission hearing. Hundreds of residents, activists and leaders of cultural institutions testified both in favor of the presidential center and against it. The commission voted overwhelmingly in support, as did the Zoning Committee on Tuesday, which paved the way for Wednesday’s City Council vote.

The City Council decision was just another step in a long process. Besides the federal review — which is required because Jackson Park, the site of the center, is on the National Register of Historic Places — the foundation still must secure a formal long-term contract to lease Jackson Park from the city. The foundation already has hired a collective of construction firms to build the center, but they have to develop and hire a workforce.

Obama Taps Studio Museum of Harlem Curator Thelma Golden to Join Board of Presidential Library

Thelma Golden: Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem Photo: Patrick McMullan
Thelma Golden: Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem (Photo: Patrick McMullan)

Thelma Golden, former curator at the Whitney Museum and current director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, has been picked by President Barack Obama to join the board of the Obama Foundation. Her role will be to plan the presidential library at the Barack Obama Presidential Center in the South Side of Chicago, a museum and library for Obama’s life, presidency, and legacy.

Other new members of the board include John Doerr, a venture capitalist who was on Obama’s USA Economic Recovery Advisory Board and Julianna Smoot, the former White House Social Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President. Both Smoot and Doerr have played vital roles in fundraising for Obama, reports the Observer.

During Golden’s 15-year tenure at The Studio Museum (she has been the director for the past 10 years) the museum has seen immense visitor growth and international acclaim. She will also oversee a $122 million expansion. Golden is lauded for organizing pioneering exhibitions of African-American artists, raising profiles of important artists such as Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, and Chris Ofili, and turning the museum into a cultural focal point in Harlem.

“I am very much looking forward to joining the Board of Directors, and working to make the Obama Presidential Center a hub for creative expression through the arts,” Golden said in a statement on the foundation’s website. “The South Side of Chicago has historically been the nexus of several important cultural movements for African-Americans, and I believe the new Center will help usher in a new era of community engagement for this extraordinary neighborhood.”

According to the website, the Foundation “will inspire the next generation of young leaders all over the world. It will convene the brightest minds with the newest ideas from across the political spectrum, and draw strength from the rich diversity and vitality of Chicago, the city it calls home.”

article by Christie Chu via news.artnet.com

Chicago Wins Bid to Host Barack Obama Presidential Library

Martin Nesbitt, chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation, announced on Tuesday that the library would be built in Chicago’s South Side. (Credit: Joshua Lott for The New York Times)

CHICAGO — Maybe the Obamas will never return to live in Chicago after the presidency is over, their global celebrity pulling them toward New York or Los Angeles and away from the unpretentious Midwest. But Chicagoans will always have this: As it was formally announced on Tuesday, their city will be home to his presidential library.

“His journey began on the South Side and now we know that it will come full circle with his library coming home to the South Side of Chicago,” an elated Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Tuesday at a ceremony here, where the Barack Obama Presidential Center, which is to include the library, museum and space for the president’s foundation, will be built.

But as Chicago officially notched a victory over New York and Hawaii, which were also contenders, it immediately turned to the next question: Where, exactly, on the South Side will the library be built?

The Obama Foundation says it is still undecided on the location and will make the announcement in roughly the next six to nine months. Two parks near the University of Chicago’s campus on the South Side are being considered for the library: Washington Park, a 380-acre space that borders several neighborhoods, including Washington Park and Hyde Park; and Jackson Park, which hugs both the neighborhood of Woodlawn and Lake Michigan, and is the site of the Museum of Science and Industry, a golf course, soccer fields and a children’s hospital. The transfer of about 20 acres where the library could be built was approved in February by the Chicago Park District.

City officials have trumpeted the project’s potential to give the South Side a much-needed influx of tourism, new jobs and economic development. (Credit: Joshua Lott for The New York Times)

The library will be built in a partnership with the University of Chicago, where President Obama once taught law, and could open by 2020 or 2021.  Amid the triumphant announcement and buoyant speeches by civic leaders, there are still concerns being raised by some people about the permanent loss of valuable parkland in a highly populated part of the city.

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