KUTZTOWN — The Pennsylvania Downtown Center presented Kutztown University and Kutztown Community Partnership with the Townie Award for organizational excellence and community partnership for its work toward the Keith Haring Fitness Court.
Duane Crider, professor of sport management, and Jordan Davis, a sport management intern who oversaw Keith Haring Day in the spring, accepted the award during the annual statewide gala in Scranton on June 26.
The Townie Awards are designed to recognize the commonwealth’s core communities and individuals for creation and implementation of projects, programs and events that exemplify the goals of Pennsylvania Downtown Center’s community revitalization mission, officials said. Eligible communities consist of the center’s nearly 200 member organizations, including Main Street and Elm Street programs, making the Townies a competitive award process each year.
“This past spring, KU sport management students and faculty led the charge to provide the campus and local communities exercise clinics and competitions,” KU said in a release. “Keith Haring Day marked a celebration surrounding Haring’s birthday, May 4, with the goal to bring awareness to Haring, the fitness court and provide the community with exercise leadership.”
The Keith Haring Fitness Court at Baldy Street and Normal Avenue on the KU campus was dedicated in October. In collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation, Outdoor Fitness Court and the National Fitness Campaign, the fitness court features a 32-foot-by-35-foot outdoor bodyweight circuit training system with 30 pieces of body-weight fitness elements, including seven full- body circuit training stations and a body-weight training wall.
Community members attended an open fitness clinic, followed by a competition of local organizations and an art walk celebrating Haring’s work, led by Kutztown Community Partnership.
Kutztown Community Partnership, a nonprofit dedicated to the economic revitalization and preservation of Kutztown, serves as a liaison to build community, to forge positive relationships and to foster cultural and economic collaboration in the historic college town.
“Kutztown Community Partnership envisions Kutztown as an inclusive community that welcomes all our best efforts: to get an education, to do business and to live well at every stage of our lives,” officials said in the release.
Haring attended Kutztown High School and his legacy lives on throughout the borough.
To recognize and honor the love he had for his hometown, Haring in the early 1990s gifted the untitled Figure Balancing on Dog to Kutztown Park, where it remains today. More of his iconic art can be found on a floor mural in the New Arts Program building on Main Street, where it is preserved under coats of polyurethane.
“The Keith Haring Fitness Court is an incredible opportunity for the Kutztown community to pay reverence to one of its native sons, as Haring was born and raised in Kutztown,” KU officials said. “Despite his worldwide fame, Haring always stayed true to his roots and would often refer to himself as ‘Keith from Kutztown.’”