The Keith Haring Car

The Keith Haring Car

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During this lesson the children learned about Keith Haring and what kind of artwork he created. Then they had fun expressing painting an entire car in Haring-inspired imagery!


Teach children about Keith Haring's artwork so that when a child saw his work they would recognize it.

Have children work together as a team.

Inspire children to consider using alternative ways to make and share their artwork.


Pictures were printed off of the internet and hung in the classroom to inspire the children.

The children also looked at pictures from the book Love.


Exterior house paint
Old car
Flowers in buckets


The "Keith Haring Car" project was created by our 2004 Summer Campers at WaterWorks Art Studio, a public, nonprofit studio and a department of the Parks and Recreation here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Each summer WaterWorks offers theme-based art camps for kids 7 to 12 years of age. This past summer our theme was Pop Art, and one of the artists chosen to study was Keith Haring.

Our Camp Director recruited the donation of a white car (our's happened to be a 1992 Buick LeSabre), which was made child-friendly by the removal of the car's engine, gas tank, and windows. The hood, trunk, and doors were then welded shut, and a piece of plywood was placed inside the car on top of the seatbacks to accommodate potted plants growing from all of the windows.

Every camper was allotted approximately six by ten inches in which to paint his/her Haring-like study. Their assignment was to draw an image on paper in the style of Keith Haring and then to transfer that drawing onto the car. Then it was time to paint. Using exterior, acrylic house paint, their choices were hot pink, orange, red, turquoise blue, lime green, purple, and yellow. Black was used for outlines, lightening bolts, spirals, and dots to enliven the project.

Nine different camps throughout the summer worked on the Haring project. Groups of about 18 children at a time were given approximately one hour to complete their images. In all, 165 students were able to paint on the car. After the children finished, our "master gardener" placed bright, flowering plants in buckets, which were then placed just inside the car's "windows." The project was exciting for the children, eye-catching for the parents and visitors, and has become a permanent and quite colorful outdoor addition to our park.