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Keith Haring Mural In NYC Building Might Fall To Gentrification

Keith Haring Mural In NYC Building Might Fall To Gentrification

Keith Haring Mural In NY Building Might Fall To Gentrification; photo courtesy of Keith Haring Foundation Archives

Keith Haring‘s art is still celebrated today, a testament to the activist and artist’s ability to use imagery that continues to resonate with people across the world. However, a piece of the street artist’s legacy may possibly become a victim of gentrification.

In the early 1980s Haring painted a mural of his infamous dancing figures in the lobby and the stairwells of a former convent that was originally the home of a Catholic youth organization known as Grace House. The images snaked through several floors of the building and to this day are still in good condition, even as the youth organization has disappeared and the Church of the Ascension has taken over, offering studio apartments with shared bathrooms and kitchens.

Now, the owners are reportedly trying to sell the building, leaving residents not only wondering about their future living situation but the future of the mural. Four months ago the owners notified the building’s 16 tenants that they needed to vacate their apartments by August 1, explaining in a letter that it was suffering financial difficulties and wanted to explore its options.

Several of the tenants have filed lawsuits against the church to keep their rent stabilized apartments. “As far as I’m concerned, I want to stand up for my rights and get justice,” resident Sabeva told DNA Info.

But many are just afraid that the developers that purchase the building won’t retain Haring’s paintings. ”

“They know the Harings are here but they don’t really care about them,” McFarling said of the developers. “They don’t really know how unique they are,” said other resident Denis McFarling. “They don’t really know how unique they are.”

According to a story that The New York Times did about the building back in 2007, around 50 kids watched Haring paint the mural, which took him less than an hour and a half to complete.




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