BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A photo of a toddler staring at the former first lady’s portrait has gone viral, but the story gets better when Michelle Obama extends a special invitation.

The portrait by Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald was unveiled a few weeks ago, and it appears to be getting the attention Sherald and Mrs. Obama had hoped. Now, a new friendship between the two is growing.

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Two-year-old Parker Curry is very active, but when she saw the portrait at the National Portrait Gallery, she came to a standstill.

“Michelle Obama is beautiful,” she said.

While Parker was mesmerized by the woman she believes is a queen, Ben Hines snapped a photo that he posted on his Facebook page. That post has now reached tens of thousands of people, which came as a surprise to Parker’s mom, Jessica.

“I knew I didn’t take it, and I knew my sister didn’t take it — I was concerned,” she said.

Hines has since connected with Parker’s parents. They are all blown away by the positive response from people all around the world — along with the message it sends to future generations.

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“It embodies her quote on what she aspired to have this portrait invoke,” Jessica said.

“I’m also thinking about all of the young people, particularly girls and girls of color, who, in years ahead, will come to this place and they will look up and they will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great american institution,” Mrs. Obama said at the portrait unveiling last month.

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“I think the artist and Michelle Obama both achieved what they wanted when they created that photo,” Parker’s father said.

Michelle Obama has shared a video of the two dancing on her Instagram page, writing she hopes to one day be looking at a portrait of Parker.


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