Keith Haring and Graffiti

Keith Haring and Graffiti

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Students from this Montessori school in Canada studied Keith Haring and then worked collaboratively to make several murals, custom t-shirts, and sculptures, all exploring the theme of "Peace, love and the environment."


To appreciate the art of the artist Keith Haring.

To design and implement Keith Haring-like images for a wall mural.

To understand and experience a project containing many different compenents and processes from beginning to end.


The Keith Haring for Kids website, posters, postcards, The Keith Haring Biography, The book "10".


Tempera or acrylic paint (acrylic is permanent paint and will be good for tee-shirts)
Brushes & painting supplies
Varnish (shellac or polyurethane)


Synthesizing Haring's Work & Scale
After showing the students some reproductions of Haring's work and discussing how he made some pieces and what they might mean to him as well as to others, we practiced drawing some Haring-inspired images on coloured paper. We later enlarged the drawings to suit several walls within our school, and painted them as permanent, site-specific murals. We used bright colours, black outlines (painted last), and movement lines to convey action, all characteristic of Haring's work.

Dimension & Volume
Afterward, we practiced drawing some more shapes (containing figures/colors inside of each section), folding the paper to create 3-dimensional geometric shapes which now hang in our classroom.

Just as Keith made tee-shirts for his friends and family, we painted t-shirts so we could have our own memories of Keith Haring. The students used symbols in their own lives that held personal meaning for them, just as Haring used the Radiant Baby and Barking Dog images to communicate his personal identity.


Tyee's web site



About Taz Ismail and Becky Evermon

Classroom Teacher & Art Teacher

3 Responses to Keith Haring and Graffiti

  1. Cecilia says:

    Look I understand that as art teachers we should expose our students to other artist. I do this, but why not allow the students to respond to the work in their own way instead of completely mimicking it. It seems we are defeating the purpose of inspiring the next generation. Instead of inspiring and hoping to spark them creatively we say do as I do. the blue dog artist, Rodriguez does this as well here in New Orleans.

    • Dear Cecilia,

      We encourage educators and students alike to use Keith Haring’s life and work as inspiration, and to work with their own imagery, ideas, and vision. This database includes lessons submitted from educators all over the world, who work with varied publics and concerns. They make choices in designing their own lessons. We encourage all educators to submit their projects here if they’d like.


  2. jeannine barrett says:

    sometimes kids don’t understand that art can be as simple as a fat line drawn stick figure with some bright color added! Art teachers are there to inspire kids and encourage them to not be afraid of the blank paper. And the praise they hear when their artwork is displayed is what will hopefully give them courage to create and step out of the box that this world so desparately tries to keep them in.

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