Keith Haring Legacy Lives on in Rush Murals

Artist Keith Haring paints mural at Rush in 1989.

Artist Keith Haring paints mural at Rush in 1989.

By Nathalie Wheaton

Rush University Medical Center is the proud owner of two Keith Haring murals, one of which can be found on the fourth floor of the Atrium and features a heart motif. The other mural is nearby.

If you are on the fourth floor of the Atrium, head north in the direction of Kellogg instead of south in the direction of the Armour Academic Center and Jelke. When you get to the end of the hallway, you can see the mural just around the corner. It features some of Haring’s popular cartoon animals. Both of the murals were painted for and donated to the Children’s Service.

Haring painted these murals May 21, 1989. The week before, he painted other murals in the Chicago area, including murals at Wells High School and in Grant Park. We have not found any information about whether the murals at Rush were named. We believe they were untitled like many of his other works.

In the June 1989 issue of Rush’s newsletter, NewsRounds, he is quoted as saying, “I could earn a lot more money by only painting and selling canvases, but I really enjoy creating murals for children.”

Sadly, the March 1990 issue of NewsRounds included a notice on the death of Keith Haring, who died of AIDS-related complications February 16, 1990. He was only 31.

Nathalie Wheaton is an archivist with Rush University Medical Center. Do you have a question about the history of Rush? Please contact the Rush Archives.

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One thought on “Keith Haring Legacy Lives on in Rush Murals

  1. I looked at these murals a million times walking in and out of Rush during both my brother’s Cancer and my mother’s. Having this type of art on the walls along with some of Rush’s other art is soothing for the mind for those of us who have had to walk those halls so frequently in distress. THANK YOU! This is just another example of how art has the power to touch and to reach people. Good job Rush!

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