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Kutztown University’s 2nd Annual Keith Haring Fitness Day unites fitness and art

Celebrating artist Keith Haring’s birthday, Kutztown University hosted the 2nd Annual Keith Haring Fitness Day at the Keith Haring Fitness Court on campus May 2.

A goal of the Fitness Day was to bring together the KU campus and local community through fitness and art.

Students from the KU Sport Management Department organized this year’s event as a form of practical and applied experiential learning. The event included a fitness clinic open to the campus and local community, a competition between KU and 16 Kutztown Area High School students and an art walk celebrating Haring’s work and May 4 birthday.

Kutztown University sports management students and faculty organized the 2nd Annual Keith Haring Fitness Day held at the Keith Haring Fitness Court on the KU campus May 2. (Photos by Guy Frick, Kutztown University)
Kutztown University sports management students and faculty organized the 2nd Annual Keith Haring Fitness Day held at the Keith Haring Fitness Court on the KU campus May 2. (Photos by Guy Frick, Kutztown University)

“Growing up in the Lehigh Valley area, the artwork of Keith Haring was something we all learned about in school,” one of the organizers Tyler Monahan, a KU sport management student, said in a statement. “To be able to have this opportunity to help bring the Kutztown community together is a great experience.”

Haring grew up about two blocks from the court and passed away in 1990. He is credited by critics with having revolutionized pop art through his graffiti-like pieces full of abstract lines and colorful flairs. His 1980s illustrations grew out of the New York street culture and has become a widely recognized visual language to many.

A celebrated advocate for the LGBTQ community, Haring established the Keith Haring Foundation in 1989 to provide funding and imagery to AIDS organizations and children’s programs and to expand the audience for Haring’s work through exhibitions, publications and the licensing of his images.

Haring gifted the “Untitled (Figure Balancing on Dog)” to Kutztown Park in the early 1990s, where the sculpture remains today. More of his iconic art can be found on a floor mural in the New Arts Program building on Main Street.

Dedicated in October of 2022, the Keith Haring Fitness Court — located on campus near the KU football stadium at the corner of Baldy Street and Normal Avenue — displays Haring’s colorful, dancing illustrations on the fitness equipment.

When applying to be one of 10 sites nationwide where a Keith Haring Fitness Court would be constructed, Kutztown was the only applicant that could lay claim to having Keith Haring born and raised there.

Built in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation, Outdoor Fitness Court and the National Fitness Campaign, the $200,000 project was funded by a $100,000 state grant and donations raised by KU and the Kutztown Community Partnership.

The 1,120-square-foot court features an outdoor bodyweight circuit training system with 30 pieces of body-weight fitness elements, including seven full-body circuit training stations and a body-weight training wall. The facility is open from dawn until dusk for those ages 14 and older.

The 2nd Annual Keith Haring Fitness Day held at the Keith Haring Fitness Court on the Kutztown University campus May 2 aimed to bring together the KU and local community through fitness and art. The event included a competition between KU and Kutztown Area High School students. (Photo by Guy Frick, Kutztown University)
The 2nd Annual Keith Haring Fitness Day held at the Keith Haring Fitness Court on the Kutztown University campus May 2 aimed to bring together the KU and local community through fitness and art. The event included a competition between KU and Kutztown Area High School students. (Photo by Guy Frick, Kutztown University)

As a sport management student, Monahan said he attends many different events throughout the year.

“To end the spring semester with the Keith Haring Fitness Day, it puts the cherry on top to the success the department creates,” he said. “With this event, we hope the community can take the opportunity to honor Haring’s art, as well as come together to support physical activity and exercise.”

He said the fitness court allows participants to get exercise through many different activities and workouts.

“The Keith Haring Fitness Day is an event unlike any other. The idea of putting Haring’s art and exercise into one event was something I found quite intriguing. So, when I had the opportunity to help plan and run this event, I jumped right on board,” he said.

Monahan thanked everyone involved for making this event possible and thanked Dr. Duane Crider, sport management professor, for his guidance.

“I hope it will continue for years to come.”


Source: Berkshire mont

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