Graffiti Project

Graffiti Project

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A combined dance/visual art week long project, accompanied with live music and ending with a sharing, for students on the autistic spectrum.


To expose students to the life and work of Keith Haring.

To provide students with understanding of their movements and gestures.

To give students a space to experiment with drawing and color using Haring's images as inspiration.

To help students understand their relationship to their environment and to develop comfort expressing themselves creatively.


Books containing images by Haring and the dancing figure books for the dance workshops. Also if desired books showing graffiti, such as on New York subways.


Large paper
Felt-tip pens
If desired, wax pastels and collage. Spray paint can also be used depending on the environment and responsibility of the students.


Heathermount School is a special school for students with autism and Asperger Syndrome. We used Keith Haring's images as an inspiration for the students' own art and movement work. Haring's images are vibrant and dance-like, so they were eminently suitable for the dance workshops. They were also used for the art workshops as the students could start with themselves and their interests, which is important for students on the autistic spectrum. The students' paintings were then used to inspire their own movement.

Discuss what movement the students would like the painting to represent, e.g. jumping, running, dancing; and how to get that outline and dynamism on to the paper.

Join several large sheets of paper together so that the combined size is larger than the student.

One student lies on the sheets of joined paper and another student draws round the first.

The student then colors in his own outline, adding text, collage, or if desired, spray paint.

It is important that the work is hung on the walls so the figures appear to dance as Haring's figures do.

This will then be both an inspiration and environment for the dance workshops to take place.


What other art was happening in New York at that time?
What music were people listening to at that time?
How did music, graffiti, dancing and fashion interact?
Did the urban culture influence mainstream fashion, art and magazines?
At that time there were numerous, and often bizarre, underground magazines; would the students like to produce their own hand-stapled magazine, that is devoted to their interests?
How did the New York artists, musicians and fashion influence other countries, especially Europe and Japan?
Did any artists from other countries influence the New York school?
Did that period of art have a lasting influence or was it only relevant at that time?
Which artists working today are working in a way similar to the way Haring worked?


Discuss how artists from all periods get movement into their paintings, which by their very nature, are static.