Teenagers paint Haring-style mural at museum

Vicky Klukkert | The Daily StarChildren from the Oneonta Teen Center paint a mural outside the Fenimore Art Museum on Friday, July 23.

 About a dozen teens from the Oneonta Teen Center traveled to Cooperstown  on Friday to tour the Fenimore Art Museum and paint a mural in the style of Keith Haring for the museum.

“The mural is based on Keith Haring’s Dusseldorf mural,” Michelle Bosma, manager of youth programs at Fenimore, said. “Haring did 50 public works of art and loved to bring the teens in to help him.”

Bosma said the teens and their younger siblings were using the same color palette as Haring used on the Dusseldorf mural to create a mural of their own.

“The teens are from all over Otsego County,” Bosma said. “In 1989 Haring was one of the most famous artists in the world. He was also openly gay. We wanted to show these teens that they can pursue art and there is equality and a community out there for them.”

Bosma said the mural was two months in the making and is a “testament for all we have in Otsego County. Steven Clark was on the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art and he contributed a lot to Fenimore.”

She said the museum is focusing on youth this year. They invited the teens to tour the museum, had them paint the mural and held a pizza party after.

The teens and their younger siblings were laughing as they painted. Museum staff members quickly created a cover of a pop-up tent with its legs strapped to four tables to ensure enough height for the teens to paint under as the sky threatened rain and produced a few raindrops while they painted.

“For many, this was their first time in an art museum and at Fenimore,” Bosma said. “We really want to show kids that this museum is for them.”

She said this year youth 19 and under are admitted free to the museum and they have catered exhibits to younger people.

Earlier this year they had a Jan Brett exhibit and beginning Aug. 7, the museum will host an exhibit on the popular children’s books about Arthur, Bosma said.

“The husband is the artist and his wife makes toys,” Bosma said. “Both will have an exhibit.”

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at vklukkert@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221.

Follow her @DS_VickyK on Twitter.

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