Michelle and Barack Obama are offering artists fellowships

The former president and first lady’s non-profit is looking for ‘community-minded rising stars’

Barack and Michelle Obama have announced their fellowship program, giving artists an opportunity to network and develop their work with support from the Obama Foundation Fellowship, which opened this month. The program sets out a plan to empower “community-minded rising stars”: they are looking to discover and encourage the work of “good humans” and talented emerging artists, who may otherwise not have the opportunity to expand their projects or access funding.

The foundation was originally set up in 2014 to oversee the construction of Obama’s Presidential library in Chicago (completion 2021), but the organisation also fosters the talents of unsung civic innovators, including creatives and artists. They are looking to recruit 20 creatives, across journalism, art, education, entrepreneurs and other creative industries. 

The fellowship is a two-year, non-residential offer, which includes expense-paid trips to confabs, as Artnet reports. The group, the first one in the scheme, will also have the opportunity to shape how the project runs in the future. The Obama Foundation sets out its goal to “develop the next generation of active citizens and leaders – and what it means to be a good citizen in the 21st century”, a continued emphasis on community which Obama held during his Presidency.

The organisation wishes to find individuals who are “at a tipping point in their work” and are “talented, but not connected”. In the promotional video for the foundation, the former President names Sheldon Smith, who runs a project for African American fathers in Chicago, as well as Trisha Shetty, CEO of SheSays, an organisation with the aim of advancing women’s rights in India, showing the program’s global vision.

This seems like a wonderful opportunity for creatives to get their foot in the door of industries that can cater to the elite and privileged. The deadline is October 6, and you can apply here.