Keith Haring Art Project for Kids: Hallway Mural
My first teaching assignment was at a middle school in Virginia. I was teaching grades 6, 7 & 8. The love of art was very high at that school so I immediately started an art club. I look back fondly on those years with the kids and all the meaningful art projects we created together.
One of my all time favorite projects with this group was our Keith Haring hallway project.
Keith Haring lived from 1958-1990 and in that short time he packed in his influence and left us as a Pop Art icon!
Keith started his career making subway art and is known for his fast outline drawings with expressive line work – simple yet effective. Later in Keith’s career he was dedicated to making public works, creating 50 of them in a 7-year time span.
It felt appropriate to use Haring to do a “public” work with my art club students on our school walls. It was easy to make the connection between making art on the walls of our school to the way Haring did in the New York subways.
To get started, the kids all studied and learned about this subway artist turned iconic Pop Art artist. There are so many great books about Haring to help with this. Here are some that I really love. Please note that these are affiliate links to Amazon (see disclosure here).
(I probably have all of the Taschen artist books because they are so useful!).
Then the kids planned out their designs for our hallways. For our Haring wall we included some of his most iconic images like “Radiant Baby” and “Barking Dog.”
They first planned their design, drew the images on the wall in pencil and then painted their final designs with acrylic paints.
Sometimes we can’t do projects like this Keith Haring art project with large class sizes so creating an art club (even if you aren’t an art teacher) is a great way to narrow the focus and interest of your students while developing a manageable number of especially engaged students to work with.
I encourage you to create community art with your students – whether you are the art teacher at your school or not – kids will take the lead and share their amazing ideas with you and your group. Middle school age children are often passionate about social issues – using art to create community projects is a great way to support them during this developmental time and let their voice be heard!
Here is a picture of some of the girls (now ladies!) from my club that worked tirelessly on this Keith Haring art project. I recently contacted all them to get their permission to use this photo in this post.
These girls have now graduated college and are amazing young ladies – just as they were in middle school. We all got a good laugh looking back at this picture! I believe a large reason the girls and I are still connected is because of this and other meaningful projects that we did during those years of art club.
Even though we are no longer teacher and students – but more colleagues (they are all professionals now), I think that our time together – making art with meaning – has forever sealed a bond between us.
It’s quite an honor as a teacher to witness children as they learn and grow.
Thanks for reading!
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