Building Community through Art & Fitness at the Keith Haring Fitness Court® in Kutztown

June 4, 2024

Kutztown University (KU) recently held their second annual Keith Haring Fitness Day, an event that blends fitness with vibrant artwork at the Keith Haring Fitness Court. This special day not only commemorates the life and legacy of the late artist Keith Haring but also celebrates the collective KU campus and Kutztown community’s ongoing commitment to wellness and active living.

KU sport management student Phil Dimarco keeps track of Kutztown High School’s Colton Mathias record as he competes for his team on the box jump station. (Photo credit: Amy Shortell / The Morning Call)

The second annual event took place on May 2nd, aligning closely with Haring's birthday on May 4th. Organized by students from the KU Sport Management Department, the event was filled with valuable hands-on experience in planning and managing community activities as well as student demonstrations at each 7 stations of the Fitness Court. The day was packed with diverse activities including a friendly competition on the Fitness Court between KU students and Kutztown Area High School students, along with an art walk featuring Haring’s influential works.

Tyler Monahan, a Sport Management student and one of the event organizers, shared his enthusiasm about integrating Haring's art with physical activity.

"Growing up in the Lehigh Valley area, the artwork of Keith Haring was something we all learned about in school,” Monahan said. “To be able to help bring the Kutztown community together through this unique event is a great experience."

Keith Haring, who grew up just two blocks from the Fitness Court, became a seminal figure in the New York street culture of the 1980s, revolutionizing pop art with his graffiti-inspired artwork. A staunch advocate for LGBTQ rights and AIDS awareness, Haring's legacy continues through his art and the foundation he established.

The Fitness Court itself is a free-to-use, public facility designed to promote health and community interaction. Featuring an array of body-weight fitness elements, the Fitness Court is accessible from dawn until dusk for individuals 14 and older. It serves not only as a fitness hub but also as a communal space where art and physical health are encouraged in tandem.

The 2nd Annual Keith Haring Fitness Day is more than just a university event; it’s a community festival that draws participation across generations and backgrounds, embodying Haring's spirit of inclusivity and engagement.

"The Keith Haring Fitness Day is an event unlike any other, combining exercise with an appreciation for iconic art. Planning and participating in this event has been incredibly rewarding. I hope it’s around for years to come," said Monahan.

As Kutztown University looks forward to planning future events and programming at the Fitness Court, the success of the Keith Haring Fitness Day stands as a testament to the powerful combination of art and community wellness. With continued support from faculty like Dr. Duane Crider and the wider community, this annual event promises to be a lasting tradition, honoring Keith Haring’s artistic legacy and his contributions to the community’s vitality.

KU 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. (Photo credit: Guy Frick, Kutztown University)

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