Valentino Dixon Receives Praise from Former President Barack Obama for His Artwork Gifted by Michelle Obama for Christmas

pictured above Obama posted this image on his IG page while viewing work by Valentino Dixon 

This is an Update to Previous Article:

Buffalo-based artist Valentino Dixon was recently commissioned by former First Lady Michelle Obama for a 20″ x 30″ drawing of the 12th hole of Augusta National Golf Club as a gift to Barack Obama for Christmas after seeing his interview with Bryant Gumbel on his Real Sports HBO Special.

This exact drawing also happens to be the very first golf course Dixon drew when he was incarcerated at Attica and was the first of hundreds of drawings he would create before being released in September of 2018 (as featured in the cover of the challenger news) from prison after serving 27 years for a crime he didn’t commit and has been exonerated for as another man confessed to the crime.  

Dixon’s national attention, sports illustrated feature meeting Tiger Woods and Real Sports HBO special and now being part of the Obamas collection is just the beginning for this 51-year-old Buffalo artist. Dixon says that the Drawing would be hanging in Barak’s office.  As part of the gift, he recorded a video to accompany it with a special message for Barack.

Recently, in response to receiving the gift from Michelle, Barack Obama applauded Dixon in a message to his 34 million Instagram followers speaking about Dixon’s struggles, his efforts to inspire prison reform and his talents for art in a message about the drawing former first lady Michelle Obama gave as a Christmas gift.  

Obama Wrote on his Instagram Page:

“For Christmas, Michelle surprised me with this drawing of the 12th hole at Augusta National by the terrific artist @ValentinoDixon. It’s an incredible piece, but the story behind it is even better.” Obama posted. “Valentino grew up in Buffalo New York and developed a great skill and passion for drawing from a young age. Unfortunately, when he was 21, he was wrongfully convicted for a crime he didn’t commit and sentenced to a minimum of 38 1/2 years in prison.” Obama also wrote about Dixon’s release from prison and the work he has done as an advocate for prison reform. “Today, Valentino travels extensively to share his story and promote the need for criminal justice reform. And thankfully, for me and for so many others he continues to draw.”

Valention Dixon posed with drawing that Michelle Obama also commissioned for Barak Obama

In a quote by Dixon found on his website the  artist proclaims:  “It weighs heavily on my mind that we need change in the system, so my mind is not at peace until we get something done.”.  Since being released from prison he has spoken about Justice reform at universities, schools, golf clubs as well as speaking engagements overseas and around the world not to mention being featured in countless national newspapers and magazines.  

Not long after his release, Burchfield Penney Arts was the first to sponsor a solo show of Dixon’s incredible golf course originals among other works from the artist’s archive.

Dixon is expected to release his memoir’s entitled The Soul of an Unfree Man” on Amazon in March of 2021.

You can learn more about his effort on

Congratulations Valentino!!