The Barack Obama Foundation announced yesterday that Thelma Golden, the director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, will join its board of directors alongside political fundraiser Julianna Smoot and venture capitalist John Doerr.
Golden has been affiliated with Obama’s campaigns for change over the past few years. In 2010, Obama appointed Golden to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House. Two years later, in an article called “Who was that woman sitting next to Obama at the state dinner?” (the woman was Golden), the Washington Post wrote that “Golden’s ties to the White House are perhaps deeper than most realize.” (Golden’s husband, Duro Olowu, is known to be one of Michelle Obama’s favorite designers.) Now, as a board member at the Barack Obama Foundation, she will help raise funds to build Obama’s presidential library in Chicago.
Golden is best known for her work at the Studio Museum, which is currently planning a $122 million expansion and is devoted to showing work by artists of African descent. She has been working at the museum since 2000 and has, in her 15-year tenure, cemented her reputation as one of today’s most sought-after curators.
“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. “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.”