Keith Haring

Pat’s life is one full of great stories – full of travel, adventure, love, and loss. Now a resident at our Town Hall Apartments in Boystown, Pat simply had to step outside and walk half a block to find the Legacy Project Placard she admires most. Pat’s choice to honor artist Keith Haring for this year’s Legacy of Pride series reflects that sense of adventure. Both of them travelers and artists, Pat very much feels as though she has a kindred spirit Haring.

“He was an artist and activist. I’m a Chicago artist and have been called an activist myself. My camera has been used to record much of what is considered activism. I actually got to meet Keith in October 1989. My sister Sue and I were taking our brother John’s panel to the AIDS quilt to add it to the many other patches. We were crossing the street when I noticed a Keith Haring booth set up. I went up to the man who was manning the booth and said that I liked Keith’s work. That it was a shame that he was dead. The man was taken aback. His answer to me was ‘I am Keith Haring. And I’m very much alive’”

Keith actually did pass away about three months after the encounter due to complications from AIDS. Nevertheless, his artwork lived on. His colorful drawings depicted a sense of unity and peace that has continued to connect with people the world over. For Pat, his work was a reflection of the LGBTQ community – and connected with her on a very personal level.

“His life and artwork never flinched from his homosexuality and his AIDS diagnosis. This gave others strength in their coming out process as LGBTQ and those that were HIV+. He was a strong advocate for safe sex encouraging gay men to wrap it up. There is a Keith Haring Foundation which has funded AIDS organizations and children’s programs. His body of work gives ‘street’ art, murals and graffiti art a place at the table of collectors’ art. I personally look to LGBT artists like Haring because I consider myself to be a lesbian artist. Their art broadens my horizons on art and my community and it inspires me to continue my creating.”