Mar 21 2019

City Kids of Phila + NYC

Keith. Haring.


Need we say more?


Keith Haring is one of the most iconic artists of all time. His use of bright colors and interesting characters catapulted him to the forefront of the underground arts scene when he arrived in New York from Pennsylvania when he was only 19 to enroll at The School of Visual Arts.


Haring was inspired by graffiti artists, and the art community that thrived outside of the traditional gallery/museum system. He began to make his mark when he used white chalk to mark up the empty advertising space in subway stations. This allowed Haring’s work to get in front of a huge audience, and helped him develop an original style. It was in that space that Haring developed his signature pieces: the radiant baby, the barking dog, and the running figure, while befriending other famous artists like Jean Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf.


Haring came to Philadelphia in 1987 to create a mural in collaboration with the City Kids of New York and The Brandywine Workshop. The mural was called “We The Youth”, and was created in honor of the bicentennial of the United States Constitution. The title itself is a play on words of the opening phrase of the constitution “We The People”.


Keith Haring Foundation

Photo Credit: Keith Haring Foundation


The mural’s collaborators were primarily kids and teenagers who were members of the two organizations. Said Mykul Tronn, one of the art students who participated, “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.”


We The Youth - Steve Weinik

Photo Credit: Steve Weinik


Keith Haring wasn’t using this piece just to make a statement about the constitution: rather, he was trying to make a statement about the future and how important the youth are to the future of America.


We The Youth Philly - Steve Weinik

Photo Credit: Steve Weinik


Over the years, the mural started to wither away and was in desperate need for restoration, otherwise it would be lost forever. The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program noticed this problem and, to keep Haring’s original mission for this piece alive, decided to completely restore the mural in 2013 in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation. They were able to save the mural and now it can still be enjoyed (and hopefully will be for years to come). Haring’s message of positivity was saved, and continues to live on here in Philadelphia.


Obsessed with Philly’s street art like us? Don’t miss the first blog in this series on the legendary Shepard Fairey.


Get creative with [ 2 one 5 ] – we’re all about defying the standard.



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