Obama Taps 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, 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.”

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