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Art to put teens up against wall

Famous New York graffiti artist Keith Haring would have approved. The Tampa Museum of Art is sponsoring free graffiti parties later this month for children inspired by Haring. Participants will be given special sidewalk chalk and allowed to draw on the sidewalk or on butcher paper taped to the walls outside the NCNB Plaza in downtown Tampa.

"Art making is possible for everyone, and you don't need expensive materials to create," said Ellen Hochschwender, spokeswoman for the museum. "You can use any piece of chalk on any surface and create a work of art."

A display of Haring's work, "Keith Haring: Future Primeval," will open Sunday at the museum. The exhibit will run through Sept. 1.

Haring began his career in New York subways when he drew stick figures in chalk on blank advertisement space that lined the inside of each subway car. Haring later did paintings, sculpture and murals in collaboration with schoolchildren. He died last year at the age of 32.

A graffiti party for children between the ages of 12 and 19 will be June 23, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the museum. Parties for children under age 15 will be June 28-29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Old Hyde Park Village.

Participants will use a special non-toxic, biodegradable chalk that is easily washable.

Hochschwender said that Haring worked with children to get them involved in the arts. He did many of his works in areas where children played or visited, she said.

Hochschwender said the museum hopes that children will learn that they can create art through everyday materials.

Even though the parties deal with a controversial art form, Hochschwender said the museum does not condone vandalism.

"Haring's intention was not to deface property, but to enhance a given space," she said.