Obama's statute, which was unveiled on Saturday, was created by sculptor James Van Nuys over a two-year period

By Dave Quinn
July 15, 2019 06:45 PM

A sweet moment of former President Barack Obama holding the hand of his daughter Sasha and waving at onlookers has been memorialized in a sculpture as part of Rapid City, South Dakota’s long-running “City of Presidents” project.

Since 2000, the western South Dakota city has been populating its streets and sidewalks with life-size bronze statues of the nation’s past commanders-in-chief — an art instillation meant to honor the legacy of the American presidency.

So far 43 former president have been added to the project, from the country’s first, George Washington, on to Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and, now, Obama.

Rapid City offers a “City of Presidents” map and interactive walking guide for the project. The pattern of placement for the presidents was chosen “to maintain a coherent structure and eliminate any sense of favoritism or political gain,” the city notes.

Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty

Each sculpture is privately funded and depicts the president in a pose specific to his personality.

Obama’s statute, which was unveiled on Saturday, was created by sculptor James Van Nuys over a two-year period.

According to CNN, Meyers was originally going to sculpt Obama, 57, standing and waving when his collaborators suggested he try something different.

“One of us said, ‘This is boring. This is not going to have the wow factor,’ ” Dallerie Davis, the group’s co-founder, told CNN. “A man waving is not a showstopper.”

The final sculpture was inspired by a photo of Obama and Sasha walking on a stage at Chicago’s Grant Park, after Obama was first elected president, Van Nuys told CNN.

Rapid City has yet to unveil the placement of the Obama statue but said on its website it will be placed by the end of the summer.