Explore these poems, written by Chicago high school poets, inspired by The Obama Portraits.
The Obama Portraits Teen Poetry Competition was created in collaboration with the museum’s Teen Council Interns and was open to all Chicago high school teens. Twenty-six young people submitted their poems, and 9 winners were selected by an intergenerational jury of poets and artists. Teen Council members also wrote poems to help design the competition, and we are pleased to include them here.
Thank you to our jurors:
Jasper Abdullah, Teen Council member
Jacoby Cochran, writer, editor and storyteller, and host of City Cast podcast
Tia Hudson, Teen Council member
Dominique James, event host, performer, and teaching artist
Josê Olivarez, poet and author of Citizen Illegal
Simone Reynolds, poet
Veronica Stein, Woman’s Board Executive Director Learning and Public Engagement, Art Institute of Chicago
Poems inspired by Kehinde Wiley’s Barack Obama
Poems inspired by Amy Sherald’s Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama
Poems Inspired by Both Portraits
Teen Council Poems
The Obama Portraits Tour is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC.
The Art Institute thanks the many supporters who have funded the Chicago presentation, as well as access, education, and programming.
Lead Corporate Sponsor for the Chicago Presentation
Lead Individual Supporters
Lester Coney and Denise Gardner
Corporate Programming Sponsor
Leadership support is contributed by Illinois Tool Works and the Leadership Advisory Committee of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Major funding is provided by the Blanchard-Nesbitt Family; Suzette and Ally Bulley; Francesca and Liam Connell; Anne and Don Edwards; Paul, Dedrea, and Ian Gray, In the Works Foundation; Guida Family Foundation; Cheryl and Eric McKissack; and Peggy A. Montes.
Special support is contributed by Julia Langdon Antonatos and Larry Antonatos, Ariel Investments, Caroline Brown and Cairy Saltwell Brown, Ann Collins, Kevann M. Cooke, Marilyn and Larry Fields, Nickol and Darrel Hackett, Mellody Hobson, Linda Johnson Rice, The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, the Langdon Neal Family, Fay and Daniel Levin, and Marisa Murillo.
Additional support is provided by Jozy Altidore, Azeeza, Chanel Coney, Javon Coney, Don and Kristen Crawley, Allison and Susan Davis, Andrea Ellis, Steven Galanis, Kyle and Ashley Gardner, Andre Iguodala, Olivia John, Jasmine Jordan, Deven Rand, Alexa Rice, and Sloane Stephens.