Painting with a Message

Painting with a Message

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This lesson focuses on helping kids help themselves and other kids by painting with a message in the style of Keith Haring. It empowers them and teaches that their art can be a source of hope and information for others.


1. Learn about the style of Keith Haring and his work, how he depicted people, showed action/movement.

2. Learn about the active things that kids can do to make their lives better - use Kids Risk Project list to start.

3. Create a painting with a message in the style of Keith Haring and share their messages to teach others.


Wooden boards or paper or an object to paint on (could be a wall, fence, etc.)
Bright color paints & painting supplies
Paper & pencils for sketching


Share Keith Haring's work with students (For very young students consider drawing a Haring-style person moving or a radiant baby or a barking dog, ask each student to color the drawing, discuss what they see, feel, and how the color changes the image. For older students ask them to find a Haring image that attracts them and bring it to discuss in a group, pick one or two images and ask the students to sketch them, ask the students to think about the symbols that Haring used, and what symbols they might use)

Go to the Kids Risk Project For Kids "Teach Others" web page, review the list of things that kids can do to take charge of risks and to help themselves and others, discuss the list as a group, and ask students to each pick one thing (or to come up with their own) to use as a message.

Ask students to sketch their ideas, discuss them with each other, pick colors and design the images, paint them, participate in designing a display for them, and finally evaluate the process and project.


How does painting with a message help you? How could it help others?


In the true spirit of Keith Haring's dream of sharing his work with the world, make public display part of the project, both by submitting the pictures to the Kids Risk Project (and the Keith Haring Foundation) and by displaying them in the school, a local library or museum, etc.