Amy Sherald

I have a lot more to do with my life, and my life is my art. And so I'll just keep painting. But she'll [Michelle Obama] always be the highlight of everything.

Soon, the first painting of a woman of color, Michelle Obama, will be placed in the National Gallery. And it was painted by this week’s phenomenally talented #Changemaker - Baltimore based artist Amy Sherald. So, not only will Michelle Obama’s portrait be the first portrait of a black woman to hang in the gallery. It will also be the first painting to hang there that was painted by a black woman. Amy, who until recently was supporting her work by waiting tables, has received acclaim for her portraits because they so beautifully portray the extraordinariness of people who might otherwise be viewed as merely ordinary. This pivotal moment - the painting OF the first black First Lady painted BY the first black woman to be featured in the National Portrait gallery — is not only a critical moment in our country’s history but also in the recognition of Amy’s work. “I have a lot more to do with my life, and my life is my art. And so I'll just keep painting. But she'll [Michelle Obama] always be the highlight of everything.”

Amy’s work has centered on social justice since moving to Baltimore and she is well-known for painting people of color outside of the typical historical narrative, using gray skin tones to challenge notions of race. Her work often draws inspiration from her experience as one of the only black female artists throughout her art school education, and also from her own health. Amy has faced severe health challenges leading to a recent heart transplant surgery, making her accomplishments even that much more extraordinary. All of Amy’s passion, hard work and adversity have led to this pivotal moment. Her work will be immortalized in the halls of the National Gallery for evermore.