Kutztown University, Kutztown Community Partnership dedicate Keith Haring Fitness Court

Kutztown University and the Kutztown Community Partnership dedicated the Keith Haring Fitness Court with a ribbon cutting Friday, Oct. 21, at the fitness court location on the corner of Baldy Street and Normal Avenue, on the KU campus.

“We are proud that Kutztown University and the Borough of Kutztown is one of 10 sites chosen nationally for this Keith Haring branded facility,” said Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, university president. “The Keith Haring theme is particularly exciting, as it ties in so many strong aspects of our community, including health and fitness, art, history, education, town-gown relations, support of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and more.”

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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. The fitness court features a 32’x35′ 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.

Photo courtesy of Kutztown University.

Students and faculty in the university’s sport management program dedicated their coursework toward programming for the Fitness Court.

“It is a huge opportunity and experience for us students to gain the knowledge of fitness, improve our health and wellness, as well as open our minds to promoting a healthful lifestyle for our community,” said Morgan Hurd, a senior, sport management major, minoring in fitness administration. “Some of the plans we have been working on regarding programming are enhancing the workouts to be competitive, fun and creative. Working as the student representative for this project has helped me gain the experience of working through communication. It has helped to promote health and wellness here at KU, while bringing recognition to the artist Keith Haring.”

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Leading sponsors were recognized during Friday’s event, including St. Luke’s University Health Network, Jeffrey and Raine Fussner, T-Mobile and Senator Judy Schwank and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the presenting sponsor of the Keith Haring Fitness Court.

Kutztown Community Partnership is a community-driven non-profit organization dedicated to the economic revitalization and preservation of Kutztown. The Partnership serves as a liaison to build community, to forge positive relationships and to foster cultural and economic collaboration in the historic college town. Kutztown Community Partnership envisions Kutztown as an inclusive community that welcomes all our best efforts: to get an education, to do business and to live well at every stage of our lives.

Photo courtesy of Kutztown University: President Hawkinson at Fitness Court.

The Keith Haring Fitness Court is an incredible opportunity for the Kutztown community to pay reverence to 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 would often refer to himself as “Keith from Kutztown.”

Haring went to Kutztown High School and his legacy lives on throughout the borough of Kutztown. To recognize and honor the love he had for his hometown, Haring gifted the ‘Untitled (Figure Balancing on Dog)’ to Kutztown Park in the early 90s, where the sculpture remains today. More of his iconic art can be found on a floor mural in the New Arts Program building nestled right on Main Street, where it is preserved under coats of polyurethane.

Haring was a legendary activist and artist who 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.

Haring also gifted a 1984 drawing of the Nativity scene to Kutztown’s St. John’s United Church of Christ, where he was baptized as an infant. Haring lived next door and went to what used to be the Kutztown Middle School but was purchased in 1979 to become the home of the Kutztown Area Historical Society.

Located at 212 S. Whiteoak Street, the Historical Society features original Haring art drawn on several chalkboards that are protected under plexiglass. His elementary art can also be found lingering in the halls of the buildings of the Kutztown School District.

In November 2021, Haring’s niece, Yenna Hill, designed a mural on the side of Young One’s Records building, located at 26 S. Whiteoak Street in Kutztown. The mural was then painted by community members, student artists and some of Haring’s family members.

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