The former president is making some geographical moves — sort of. Former President Barack Obama is coming to South Dakota in statue form for Rapid City's City of Presidents walking attraction. The bronze statue of the 44th president is set to be unveiled in July 2019, according to KOTA-TV.
City of Presidents is a group of life-size bronze statues of the former presidents of the United States — from George Washington to George W. Bush. The statues are each privately funded, according to Rapid City's website on the attraction.
Dallerie Davis, a co-founder of City of Presidents, said the Obama statue will be more than just one that's standing and waving. "We found out that a standing guy who is waving is rather boring and the one thing we don't want to do is have a boring statue on the street, particularly someone like President Obama. He deserves a statue that isn't boring," Davis told KOTA-TV.
James Van Nuys is the artist completing the Obama statue; it's his fourth City of Presidents statue, according to KOTA-TV. "It's the first of the four statues I've done for the City of Presidents where it is somebody people will recognize," Van Nuys told the television station. "The other three were from the 1850s and I don't think anyone had a strong emotional attachment to them, so it's nice to do someone people are interested in."
According to a map of downtown Rapid City, the statues of the presidents are positioned, mostly, in groups of four at street intersections. The presidential statues are also a part of the Rapid City Historic District Tour.
The location for Obama's statue has yet to be announced. The foot pictured in the tweet is the first preview of the Obama statue, published by KOTA-TV on Thursday.
Davis said excitement about Obama's coming statue is building. "We've had a lot of people indicate that they plan on coming from all over the United States. It's remarkable to me how much interest there is," Davis told KOTA-TV. "We've had a number of people throughout the United States who say be sure to let us know when it is happening, we will be there. I feel we will have a really good audience for that one," Davis said.
A statue for President Donald Trump is also being planned. KOTA-TV reported that the Trump statue will be completed by James Michael Maher after Trump's term is done. The television station doesn't specify if the statue would be erected after the first term if he wins the presidential election in 2020, or wait until his second term is over like Obama. KOTA-TV reported that Maher created five statues for the attraction: Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson, George W. Bush, and James Buchanan.
The City of Presidents project began in 2000. You can look at photos of the statues for the other 43 presidents here. The city takes its patriotism seriously. In 2011, a contest by Rand McNally and USA Today deemed Rapid City as the "Most Patriotic City" in America. "The patriotism of this place extends beyond the military base there, or the veteran's support units. It transcends the historical societies. It picks up the story lines of the Native American and weaves them into our own," according to a review of Rapid City written for the voting ballot, according to the Rapid City Journal.