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Local artist creates Obama family portrait

January 13, 2009 7:43:38 PM PST
When President-elect Barack Obama moves into the White House, a piece of Oakland artist Ben Hazard is expected to go with him. Hazard created a charcoal drawing of the new First Family and believes he captured their love.

"It was genuine love, genuine affection, genuine feeling," said Hazard.

The painting was presented to Mr. Obama months ago at a reception in Palo Alto and then shipped to his transition headquarters in Chicago.

"He was so moved. I heard he was so moved, he said that this was 'The first portrait, first drawing or painting done of my whole family. I have some of me, but not the whole family,'" said Hazard.

Hazard is the former curator at the Oakland Museum, he taught art at Stanford, and now he's a full-time artist. His unusual acrylic creations are on display at the State Building in Oakland. While at the same time his charcoal works are on exhibit at the Joyce Gordon Gallery, it is short one high profile piece.

Alameda County Arts Commissioner Donald Greene says hazard has done the Bay Area proud.

"I'm overwhelmed. I'm excited. I feel as though what's happening to him, is happening to me, and every artist that has ever looked for their work to be exposed to the public," said Greene.

There are more than 300 works of art in the permanent collection at the White House. According to the Washington Historical Society only three are by African Americans.

Hazards work will not be part of that display, but he expects it will end up in the Obama's private residence.

"I'd be very honored for that to happen," said Hazard.

The inauguration is a week away. You can see live coverage from ABC News throughout the day on ABC7News.COM, starting at around 6 a.m. Pacific Time.

For a list of inaugural events taking place in the Bay Area next week: click here


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