It gave them this other power,” Haring explained. But one of the most famous is his We the Youth mural in Philadelphia. Its location is partially to blame—most of the city’s high-profile murals adorn the walls of Philadelphia’s heavily-trafficked Center City. [5] The northmost section of the mural, painted on a fence, contains the words "We the Youth: City Kids of Phila + NYC". Keith Haring’s start as a renegade subway artist launched his incredible career as an iconic pop artist. Only a handful of outdoor Haring murals still exist in their original locations, mainly in prominent locations: the exterior wall of an Italian church, a Parisian children’s hospital, and on a handball court wall visible from Manhattan’s Harlem River Drive. [4] Mykul Tronn, one of the participating art students, said of the mural: The picture doesn't actually say much about the Constitution, but bringing people from all different backgrounds and all different places ... to work on this mural is doing something unified, and that has to do with the constitution. [4], Mural Arts Philadelphia first attempted to restore the mural in 2000, though it was "little more than a light touch-up, which quickly faded". But one of the most famous is his We the Youth mural in Philadelphia. So progress is when a building gets built on that lot,” he says—progress that would, inevitably, turn Haring’s mural into a shared wall between two rowhomes. Hooked on his newfound medium, he drew on every blank space he could find. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In a 1989 interview with Rolling Stone, Haring said, “One day, riding the subway, I saw this empty black panel where an advertisement was supposed to go. Chalk was the medium that made pop artist. When Haring arrived in New York at the age of 19 to pursue his art education, he found the city streets to be a better classroom. Despite the absence of new construction and repopulation of the dilapidated district in the years preceding, “There was curiosity and excitement about the project,” says Judy Kim, a Philadelphia-based designer who filled in one of Haring’s outlined figures as a 16-year-old high school art student. It was designed to bring people from different communities together. After months of wall repair and painstaking restoration, the restored mural debuted in November 2013. We the Youth is a mural by Keith Haring covering the west face of a private rowhouse in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Just the year before, he famously painted a 300-meter-long section of the Berlin Wall (a project that, like. keith haring mural in south west philadelphia (just off washington ave). “I am very grateful to be able to restore this beautiful, important work of Keith Haring; an artist I have admired for almost 30 years and one who means so much to so many people,” says Albrooks. We the Youth was painted to commemorate the bicentennial of the United States Constitution and the title plays on the phrase "We the people" from the preamble of the document. In a press release, MAP said: The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program has undertaken the restoration of a mural created by iconic pop artist Keith Haring. It was painted during a three-day workshop on 1, 2 and 3 September 1987. Plan A was for Haring to paint a mural on a trash truck that would drive around Philadelphia, bringing art—and sanitation services—around town. [8] The techniques used are expected to stabilize the mural for another 30 years. [6], Mural Arts Philadelphia hired Kim Alsbrooks and a small team of artists and conservators to conduct the restoration. He created countless public art projects and campaigns. I went back above ground to a card shop and bought a box of white chalk, went back down, and did a drawing on it. Like that portion of the Wall, many of his murals have been destroyed, painted over, or relocated in the years since his untimely death due to AIDS-related complications. It was also a small project within the context of Haring’s oeuvre. [1] Haring worked alongside a group of fourteen high school students from New York and Philadelphia as well as with the artists Clarence Wood, Gilberto Wilson, and Jose Seabourne. [8] The garden in front of the mural was re-landscaped by LoFurno and is now owned by the Neighborhood Gardens Trust. The neighborhood selected was South Philadelphia’s Point Breeze, where We the Youth hoped to shine the spotlight of Haring’s commercial success on the urban blight of a low-income area. Haring collaborated with teens from Philadelphia and New York City to create We the Youth. Meadoff had collaborated with Haring the previous year on, “Keith Haring didn’t want to put this mural in a part of Philly that everyone saw all the time, one of the trendier, more commercial parts,” recalls Rita Martello, a Seattle-based web designer who was among the mural’s student collaborators in 1987. A memorial service was held on May 4, 1990 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, with over 1,000 people in attendance. “It is a huge source of pride for our city and a lasting reminder of Keith’s legacy and political activism.”. [1][2] It was painted during a three-day workshop on 1, 2 and 3 September 1987. “This is the whole point: It wasn’t about putting murals all over the city, and monuments to the artists. Restoration of the late street artist’s work celebrates Keith Haring’s legacy and political activism The outlines of the figures are filled in with blue, yellow, red and green, sometimes with a solid color and sometimes with patterns and symbols. This was when the mural was new, but I’m sure things have changed since then.”, Point Breeze has indeed changed over the past 30 years, and a gentrification process has begun filling many empty properties over the past decade—although a 2009 city report still, “People just didn’t realize the value of it,” says Eric Okdeh, a muralist who has painted over 80 projects in Philadelphia and who restored, And to those outside the neighborhood, the address of Philadelphia’s Haring mural certainly remains a mystery. [7], The mural was originally intended as a temporary placeholder until a new rowhouse was built on the empty lot. [1] Of the US$40,000 needed for the restoration, US$30,000 was given by the Keith Haring Foundation. “It’s vulnerable to whatever is going to happen to it from the outside world.”. Keith Haring died of AIDS related complications at the age of 31 on February 16, 1990. Haring was instead invited to Philadelphia by representatives of two multicultural art nonprofits that work with urban youth: Allan Edmunds, founder and director of Philadelphia-based Brandywine Workshop, and Laurie Meadoff, founder and director of the New York-based CityKids Foundation. “We didn’t paint that with the idea that it was going to be there 30 years,” says Edmunds. The mural depicts dancing figures outlined in black on a white background. Captivated with the graffiti and street art on the city’s buildings, nightclubs, and subways, Haring started to influence the New York nightlife with his own take on subway art. As part of the effort to keep Haring’s legacy alive, Mural Arts Philadelphia hired local artist Kim Alsbrooks to restore his We the Youth mural. Eleven Haring murals remain in the United States, but Philadelphia’s mural wasn’t supposed to be one of them. “He wanted to put it in an actual urban neighborhood.”, The neighborhood selected was South Philadelphia’s Point Breeze, where. Keith Haring’s start as a renegade subway artist launched his incredible career as an iconic pop artist. Courtesy of The Keith Haring Foundation Archives. It was perfect — soft black paper; chalk drew on it really easily.”. Arrested for vandalism but not charged, since chalk drawings washed away easily. It was about sparking community, economic, and social development. 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