Fitness

KU announces plans to bring rare Keith Haring Fitness Park to campus

KU announces plans to bring rare Keith Haring Fitness Park to campus

KUTZTOWN, PA – Kutztown University is partnering with the Kutztown Community Partnership (KCP) to bring a world-class, one-of-a-kind Keith Haring Fitness Park to campus to help promote health and wellness. wellness in the Kutztown community. The interactive fitness park will be located at the corner of Baldy Street and Normal Avenue on the KU campus, where Haring’s art will be integrated into every element.

Keith Haring was a legendary activist and artist who revolutionized pop art through his graffiti-like works full of abstract lines and colorful splashes. His 1980s illustrations grew out of New York street culture and became a visual language widely recognized by many.

“We are thrilled to partner with KCP to bring a state-of-the-art outdoor fitness facility to our community,” said University President Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson. “The Keith Haring theme is particularly exciting as it relates to many strong aspects of our community, including health and fitness, art, history, education, dress-up relationships, the support for DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) initiatives and more. ”

The Keith Haring Fitness Collection is a limited edition outdoor public art collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation in New York and Outdoor Fitness Court and the National Fitness Campaign (NFC). The fitness court will feature a 32’x35′ outdoor bodyweight circuit training system with 30 bodyweight fitness elements, including seven full-body circuit training stations and a training wall to body weight.

The cost to bring this project to campus is $200,000 plus maintenance costs. The KU Foundation actively raises funds and accepts sponsorship applications. There are different levels of sponsorship; the title sponsor will have their name placed under Keith Haring’s signature in the fitness park. Support the project at https://give.classy.org/fitnesscourt.

This project is an incredible opportunity for the Kutztown community to honor one of its native sons, as Haring was born and raised in Kutztown, PA. Despite his worldwide fame, Haring always stayed true to his roots and often referred to himself as “Keith of Kutztown.” Haring went to high school in Kutztown and his legacy lives on throughout the borough of Kutztown. To recognize and honor the love he had for his hometown, Haring donated the “Untitled (Figure Balancing on Dog)” to Kutztown Park in the early 90s, where the sculpture sits today. More of his iconic art can be found on a floor mural in the New Arts Program building tucked away on Main Street, where it is preserved under layers of polyurethane.

Haring also donated a 1984 drawing of the Nativity scene to St. John’s Christ United Church in Kutztown, where he was baptized as a child. Haring lived next door and went to what was once Kutztown Middle School, but was purchased in 1979 to become the headquarters of the Kutztown Area Historical Society. Located at 212 S. Whiteoak Street, the Historical Society features original Haring artwork drawn on several blackboards protected under plexiglass. His elemental art can also be found in the hallways of Kutztown School District buildings. In November 2021, Haring’s niece Yenna Hill designed a mural on the side of the Young One’s Records building, located at 26 S. Whiteoak Street in Kutztown. The mural was later painted by community members, student artists, and some members of Haring’s family. Among Haring’s family members who were present and contributed to this mural were Haring’s father, Allen, his sister, Karen DeLong, and his great-aunt.

Sandy Green, Kutztown University Community Liaison and Government Relations Assistant and KCP Community Liaison, has worked diligently to bring the Keith Haring Fitness Park to campus. Her journey began when she met Meggan Kerber, executive director of the Berks Art Council, who told Green about the opportunity. Green then applied for the project through the NFC to be considered as one of 10 cities nationwide that would qualify for this unique program. Once Green informed the NFC that Kutztown was Haring’s hometown, the line died down. The NFC agreed for KU to house one of the locations to hold Haring’s collection.

“We are proud and thrilled that Keith’s hometown of Kutztown was one of 10 sites chosen nationwide for the project,” said Green. “We have an incredible opportunity to transform one of Kutztown’s highly visible locations, the corner of Normal Avenue and South Baldy Street, into an iconic destination point. The Keith Haring Outdoor Fitness Court will be an art gallery, an outdoor gym and a point of pride for Kutztown.

The Kutztown Community Partnership and Kutztown University helped make this fitness park a reality. KU will pour a concrete slab for the NFC team to install this world-class custom fitness park. The park is expected to be ready in fall 2022 and will feature Haring’s iconic dancing figure designs.