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Future water garden to honor Ann Dunham, be graced by Maya Lin sculpture

An animated rendering of artist Maya Lin's sculpture for the Obama Presidential Center's Ann Dunham Water Garden. A round stone with water trickling across the surface and over the edges is surrounded by a young girl and a young woman gazing at it. In the background, a circular stone has a hole in the center, showing people of various ages and skin tones walking and talking. The entire sculpture is in a wooded area.

Today is special for many reasons. Not only is it President Obama’s 61st birthday, but we’re thrilled to celebrate with two exciting announcements.

First, we’re launching the Obama alumni campaign to fund the Water Garden at the Obama Presidential Center that will be named in honor of the President’s mother, Ann Dunham. And this beautiful space will feature a stunning new work created by one of the President’s favorite artists, Maya Lin.

President Obama to honor mother at future presidential center

Ann Dunham was the biggest influence on President Obama’s life. She believed strongly in the power of human connection and the inherent dignity in all of us, values she instilled in her children. Decades later, a commitment to those same values would inspire millions of Americans to join a movement that carried President Obama to the White House.

The Water Garden will honor Ann Dunham’s life and legacy, making her name forever a part of the Obama Presidential Center experience. But to make it even more iconic, the Water Garden will include a stone sculptural water feature from world renowned artist and architect, Maya Lin–best known for designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

A young Barack Obama wearing a short sleeve shirt and tie poses for the camera next to his mother, Ann Dunham, who wears a white lace top and a necklace of flowers. They stand in a grassy space with foliage behind them.

The Ann Dunham Water Garden will be a special place–where families can enjoy a quiet moment of reflection, children can go for a splash through the water fountain, and the community can come together for intimate performances.

It’s part of a growing collection of named spaces at the Obama Presidential Center including the  Marian Robinson “Opening the White House” exhibit, the  Eleanor Roosevelt Fruit & Vegetable Garden, and the  Hadiya Pendleton Winter Garden.

We’re excited for you to enjoy them all.


Valerie Jarrett

Chief Executive Officer, Obama Foundation

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An illustration of four people with a range of light to deep skin tones lifting one another up on top of a paper plane. The background is pink.

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