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Obama Portraits FAQ

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Photo of a man smiling as he turns away from the High's ticketing desk with windows onto trees in the background.

Obama Portraits Exhibition Description: 

The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition features two acclaimed portraits: Kehinde Wiley’s painting of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama. A celebration of historic measure, the portraits feature history-making subjects who were painted by groundbreaking artists. Wiley and Sherald are the first African American artists to be commissioned by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery to create official portraits of a president or first lady. Wiley placed a seated President Obama against a backdrop of flowers with special significance, including chrysanthemums, the official flower of Chicago. Sherald captured the former first lady against a light-blue background, sitting and gazing directly at the viewer. The exhibition provides visitors with the opportunity to examine both portraits up close, especially those who may not have a chance to see them in Washington, DC.

Scroll or use the links below to navigate through the Obama Portraits FAQ Information.

Key Ticket Information
Ticket Information: More Details
Events and Free Days
Planning My Arrival
Group Sales, School Groups, and Museum Program Information
The Exhibition Experience
Accessibility

 

KEY TICKET INFORMATION

To visit The Obama Portraits Tour, do I need an exhibition-specific ticker or a general admission ticket?
The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition will require a timed, exhibition-specific ticket that includes admission to the Museum. All Obama Portraits tickets will be labeled as such. Tickets labeled “general museum admission” or “special exhibition” are not Obama Portraits tickets and will not grant visitors access to the exhibition.

Where can I purchase tickets to see The Obama Portraits Tour?
Tickets must be purchased through the High Museum of Art’s website at high.org. Members and Museum Pass Holders will need to log in to their account to purchase tickets during the scheduled early access sale period.

If you are a new member or if you’ve never created a web login, please register here. If you attempt to log in with an email address that is not in our database, the system will not recognize you. To add your preferred email address to our system, please call 404-733-4575 (Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.), and we will be happy to assist you. If you already have a member login but have forgotten your login information, you can reset this information.

How much are Obama Portraits tickets?
Obama Portraits tickets are $16.50 per person for visitors ages six and over (except on Fridays when there are HIGH Frequency Friday or Friday Jazz events*) and free for visitors ages five and under. All visitors to the exhibition, including children ages five and under, will require an Obama Portraits Tour ticket.

Member guest passes cannot be used to redeem tickets for The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition. From October 11–15, Members were able to reserve tickets at a reduced rate of $8.25. This reduced rate was only available during the early access Member Sale.

How many Obama Portraits tickets can I purchase?
Each person is permitted to purchase up to six tickets. All tickets are timed and must be purchased in advance. The total ticket allotment includes any free tickets reserved for visitors ages five and under.

Why is an exhibition-specific ticket required for this exhibition?
The Obama Portraits Tour has been an extremely popular exhibition among touring venues. Due to extremely high demand, we are issuing timed, exhibition-specific tickets to help manage the flow of traffic in the exhibition. The amount of time a person may spend in the exhibition is ten minutes. It is important that we adhere to the time recommendations to ensure the experience is enjoyable for each visitor.

Far from your typical exhibition, The Obama Portraits Tour provides audiences with an opportunity to view both President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s portraits in all their glory. The exhibition also will feature an eight-minute video. There will be no other artwork in the exhibition.


*Can I visit The Obama Portraits Tour during Friday Jazz or HIGH Frequency Friday?
In order to visit The Obama Portraits Tour on a Friday when there are HIGH Frequency Friday or Friday Jazz events, visitors must purchase timed tickets for the Obama exhibition, which will include admission to the Friday event. HIGH Frequency Friday and Friday Jazz tickets will not grant visitors access to the Obama Portraits Tour exhibition.

TICKET INFORMATION: MORE DETAILS

Will Obama Portraits tickets be available at the Museum?
Yes, a limited number of tickets will be available on-site each day but may sell out quickly or not be available for the desired time slot requested. Walk-up Obama Portraits tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis and will be valid for the date of purchase only. We will not be able to guarantee ticket availability for everyone seeking walk-up tickets. Regular “general admission” and “special exhibition” Museum tickets will not grant visitors access into The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition.

When and where can I pick up my Obama Portraits tickets? 
Please print your tickets at home or be prepared to present your electronic tickets on your mobile device upon entering the Museum on the day of your scheduled visit. Regular “general admission” and “special exhibition” Museum tickets will not grant visitors access into The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition.

What if there is a blank (white) box where my tickets are supposed to be displayed? 
If you are seeing a blank/white box where your electronic tickets should be displayed, please switch you phone from “dark” to “light” mode. For Android users, go to “Settings,” “Display,” and toggle off “Dark Mode” theme. For Apple users, go to your “Settings,” and scroll down to “Display & Brightness” to change settings from dark to light. This action should reveal your QR code ticket. If completing this action does not work, our Guest Relations staff will be able to assist you upon arrival.

What if I miss my Obama Portraits Tour time slot? 
Due to the popularity of this exhibition, we are unable to hold time slots beyond ten minutes. If you arrive later than ten minutes, we will be unable to guarantee your admission to the exhibition. No refunds will be issued for a missed time slot. Please plan your visit accordingly and consider taking MARTA (the High Museum is located at Arts Center Station) or using a ride-sharing service to the Museum to avoid delays associated with parking.

Can I change my ticket time after my purchase is made?
Tickets are not eligible for exchange or refund.

Are children under the age of five required to have tickets for The Obama Portraits Tour? 
Yes. Children under the age of five are required to have designated Obama Portraits tickets to enter the exhibition; their ticket will be free, but they must still have a reserved ticket. With a ticket for each person, we are able to manage the number of people entering the exhibition. Regular “general admission” and “special exhibition” Museum tickets will not grant visitors access into The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition.

What if my child does not have a timed ticket for the exhibition? 
All visitors who want to enter The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition must have a ticket to do so. Regular “general admission” and “special exhibition” Museum tickets will not grant visitors access into The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition.

Does my Obama Portraits Tour exhibition ticket include admission into the rest of the Museum?
Yes. If you arrive before your time slot, unless otherwise specified, we invite and encourage you to enjoy the High’s permanent collection galleries and other special exhibitions or visit the Museum Shop. If you miss your ticketed time by more than ten minutes, you will not be guaranteed admission to The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition. If time permits, you are also welcomed to explore the rest of the Museum following your exhibition visit.

Does my regular Museum admission ticket grant me entry into The Obama Portraits Tour
No. Regular Museum admission and special exhibition tickets cannot be used to enter The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition, but your Obama Portraits Tour ticket does grant you entrance to the full Museum on the day of your visit.

EVENTS AND FREE DAYS

How will The Obama Portraits Tour be handled with respect to programs such as HIGH Frequency Friday and Friday Jazz?
A ticket purchased for HIGH Frequency Friday or Friday Jazz does not include access to The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition. Access to the exhibition requires the purchase of an Obama Portraits Tour ticket. Depending on the day and time you’ve reserved, your Obama Portraits ticket may also grant you admission to Toddler Thursday, HIGH Frequency Friday, Friday Jazz, or Second Sunday.

Can I get free admission to The Obama Portraits Tour during Second Sundays?
You will be able to enter the Museum for free on Second Sundays, but access to the Obama Portraits Tour exhibition on Second Sundays will require reservation of a separate timed Obama Portraits Tour ticket. Obama Portraits tickets will be complimentary during Second Sundays but will still require a separate timed ticket. Once tickets are reserved, no additional tickets will be available due to capacity restrictions.

Are there other free days associated with The Obama Portraits Tour
Yes, there will be four free access days (Sunday, February 13; Monday, February 21; Wednesday, March 9; and Sunday, March 13) available for The Obama Portraits Tour dates at the High. We will release those tickets during the eight-week run of the exhibition. While tickets will be free and are designed to ensure accessibility for all, the High cannot guarantee the availability of these tickets. There will be limited availability, and regular “general admission” and “special exhibition” Museum tickets will not grant visitors access into The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition.

When will the free access day tickets be released? 
Free access day tickets will be released during the eight-week run of the exhibition. Check high.org and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to find out more information about ticket releases.

How will The Obama Portraits Tour be handled with respect to programs such as Bank of America Museums on Us, North American Reciprocal Museums, military discounts, and the Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums? 
Free admission to the Museum will still be honored for these programs, but access to The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition requires the purchase of a separate timed ticket. Regular “general admission” and “special exhibition” Museum tickets will not grant visitors access into The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition.

PLANNING MY ARRIVAL

When should I arrive?
There are several steps before entering the exhibition. Please plan to arrive fifteen minutes before your ticketed entry time.

  • Plan for traffic and parking delays. MARTA and ride-sharing are great options for avoiding parking delays caused by increased volume in parking lots at and around the Museum. Please note: Parking in the deck at The Woodruff Arts Center costs $18. Members receive free parking if space is available, but parking is limited and may fill up. Your exhibition ticket does not include the cost of parking.
  • After entering the Museum, visitors must present their printed or electronic tickets to staff.
  • Please review your “Know Before You Go” email, which will be sent the day before your visit to the Museum.

What if I miss my time slot? 
Due to the popularity of this exhibition, we are unable to hold time slots beyond ten minutes. If you arrive later than ten minutes after the beginning of your time slot, we will be unable to ensure your admission to the exhibition. No refunds will be issued for a missed time slot. Please plan your visit accordingly and consider taking MARTA (the High Museum is located at Arts Center Station) or using ride-sharing services to the Museum to avoid parking delays.

Can I leave my child with a Museum attendant or in the Greene Family Learning Gallery while I experience the exhibition? 
No. All children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver during their visit to the High Museum of Art.

Can I bring a bag into this exhibition?
Small bags not exceeding 11 × 15 × 9 inches may be brought into the exhibition. Visitors should leave larger bags in their car or check them at our complimentary coat check to avoid any delays upon entering the exhibition. Museum staff are not responsible for items left outside The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition.

How long should I expect my total visit to be for this exhibition?
Two artworks and a video make up the majority of The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition. Visitors are estimated to spend approximately ten minutes in the exhibition.

How much does it cost to park at The Woodruff Arts Center?
Members receive free parking in The Woodruff Arts Center deck, but parking is limited and may fill up. All other visitors pay $18 for parking. Your exhibition ticket does not include the cost of parking. We strongly encourage taking MARTA or using a ride-sharing service to avoid parking delays.

Can I have food or drink while I wait to enter The Obama Portraits Tour
Food and drinks are not permitted in the exhibition galleries. Food and beverages may be purchased at CJ’s Café, Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining, or the coffee bar at The Woodruff Arts Center and may be consumed at those locations or on the Sifly Piazza.

Is there a restroom in the exhibition?
There is no restroom in the exhibition. Restrooms are located in the Stent Atrium right below the exhibition. Additional restroom facilities are located throughout the Museum. If you leave the exhibition to use the restroom, you will be allowed to reenter the galleries, but we strongly encourage the use of restroom facilities prior to entering the exhibition space.

GROUP SALES, SCHOOL GROUPS, AND MUSEUM PROGRAM INFORMATION 

Do your group sales rates apply to The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition?
Group sales rates do not apply to this exhibition. Visitors may purchase up to six timed tickets for The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition. Timed tickets are $16.50 for ages six and over (except on Fridays when there are HIGH Frequency Friday or Friday Jazz events*), and admission is free for children ages five and under. All visitors require a ticket. Regular “general admission” and “special exhibition” Museum tickets will not grant visitors access into The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition.

Will K–12 school groups be able to see The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition?
Yes, special time slots have been set aside for school groups. The Museum has implemented a lottery to assign these slots. The school group lottery will close December 15, 2021. School administrators and teachers can visit the Obama Portraits Tour School Lottery page for more information.

Why can’t all schoolchildren see the exhibition?
We would like for all schoolchildren to experience The Obama Portraits Tour, but space and time constraints limit the number of visitors we can accommodate. To ensure fair access, we have instituted a lottery system for school groups. We anticipate welcoming 5,400 students during the exhibition’s eight-week run.

THE EXHIBITION EXPERIENCE

Is The Obama Portraits Tour a political statement?
No, the High Museum of Art does not support any specific political affiliations. The Obama portraits are being presented at the High as part of a national Tour that includes The Art Institute of Chicago, The Brooklyn Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The exhibition considers (1) the history of presidential portraiture, (2) the process of selecting artists to make presidential portraits, (3) the groundbreaking nature of the Obama portraits produced using the language of contemporary art and culture, rather than that of traditional portraiture, and (4) the two artists, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, whose unique, trailblazing practices have redefined contemporary portraiture. The artists also have a special relationship with the High Museum. Kehinde Wiley’s work is included in the High Museum’s collection, and Amy Sherald is the High Museum’s 2018 Driskell Prize winner.

Is this exhibition family friendly?
This exhibition is open to all ages. Please note the following prior to your visit:

  • The Obama Portraits Tour requires a timed ticket. Regular general admission Museum tickets will not provide access into The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition.
  • Adults must accompany children in the exhibition.
  • The Obama Portraits Tour has been an extremely popular exhibition among touring venues (The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago—June 18–August 15, 2021; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York—August 27–October 24, 2021; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles—November 7, 2021–January 2, 2022; High Museum of Art, Atlanta—January 14–March 20, 2022; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston—April 2–May 30, 2022). Far from your typical exhibition, The Obama Portraits Tour provides audiences with an opportunity to examine both President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s portraits in all their glory.
  • The exhibition also will feature an eight-minute video. There will be no other artwork in the exhibition.
  • Staff will manage and maintain the flow of traffic in the galleries to ensure the experience is as enjoyable as possible. To assist this effort, we are issuing timed tickets for the exhibition.
  • Seating is not provided in the exhibition galleries.
  • Strollers are allowed in the exhibition galleries.
  • Pictures will be allowed, but flash is not allowed when taking pictures.

What is this exhibition about?
The Obama Portraits Tour features two acclaimed portraits: Kehinde Wiley’s painting of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama. A celebration of historic measure, the portraits feature history-making subjects and were made by groundbreaking artists. Wiley and Sherald are the first African American artists to be commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to create official portraits of a president or first lady. Wiley placed a seated President Obama against a backdrop of flowers with special significance, including chrysanthemums, the official flower of Chicago. Sherald captured the former first lady against a light-blue background, sitting and gazing directly at the viewer. The exhibition provides visitors with the opportunity to examine both portraits up close in all of their glory.

Can I bring a bag into this exhibition?
Small bags not exceeding 11 × 15 × 9 inches may be brought into the exhibition. Large bags will not be permitted. To avoid delays in entering the exhibition, please refrain from bringing large bags into the Museum. Museum staff are not responsible for items left outside The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition.

How long are the lines to enter The Obama Portraits Tour? How long can I spend in the exhibition?
The wait time to examine the portraits may vary. Visitors will be allowed to take pictures with each portrait, and the expected gallery experience is approximately ten minutes.

Will there be chairs to accommodate wait times? 
Seating is limited in the galleries due to space constraints. Please wear comfortable shoes.

Is there a restroom in the exhibition?
There is no restroom in the exhibition, but there are restrooms near the elevators in the Stent Atrium. Additional restroom facilities are located throughout the Museum. If you leave the exhibition to use the restroom, you will be allowed to reenter the galleries, but we strongly encourage the use of restroom facilities prior to entering the exhibition space.

Can I have food or drink while I wait in line to view the Obama Portraits
Food and drinks are not permitted in the exhibition galleries.

Does the exhibition contain more than the two portraits? 
The Obama Portraits Tour features two acclaimed portraits: Kehinde Wiley’s painting of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama. There also is an eight-minute video in the exhibition.

Is there reentry into the exhibition?
Reentry is not permitted other than returning from the restroom while viewing the exhibition.

Am I allowed to touch the portraits? 
No touching of any artwork in the galleries is allowed. A security guard will accompany each portrait and gently provide a warning if visitors get too close to the artwork.

Am I allowed to take pictures/videos with my cell phone?
Yes, nonflash photography and videos are encouraged. No selfie sticks, tripods, grip stabilizers, or other accessories are permitted.

Can I buy The Obama Portraits Tour merchandise? 
Yes, the Museum Shop is selling The Obama Portraits Tour merchandise. Please visit the Shop in person or online to purchase exhibition-related items.

Is there an exhibition hashtag?
The hashtag #ObamaPortraitsTour has been widely associated with the exhibition. You may also use #highmuseum.

Why is there so much excitement around exhibition? 
This is the first time the portraits will be on tour. The exhibition features two acclaimed portraits: Kehinde Wiley’s painting of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama and a video. A celebration of historic measure, the portraits feature history-making subjects and were made by groundbreaking artists. Wiley and Sherald are the first African American artists to be commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to create official portraits of a president or first lady. Wiley placed a seated President Obama against a backdrop of flowers with special significance, including chrysanthemums, the official flower of Chicago. Sherald captured the former first lady against a light-blue background, sitting and gazing directly at the viewer. The exhibition provides visitors with the opportunity to examine both portraits up close in all of their glory.

ACCESSIBILITY

Are strollers allowed in the exhibition? 
Yes, strollers are allowed in the exhibition galleries.

Are wheelchairs available for people who are unable to stand for long periods of time? 
Wheelchairs are allowed in the exhibition and will be prioritized accordingly. Wheelchairs may be requested at the security desk in the main lobby of the Museum. Wheelchair reservations are first-come, first-served.

What if I am accompanying someone in a wheelchair?
The exhibition is wheelchair accessible. We will prioritize wheelchairs accordingly.

Is there an audio guide?
No, there is no audio guide for this exhibition.