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2002-May-29:

The June 1,2002 issue of Billboard writes that before his Madison Square Garden performance last month, Sir Paul met with 17 members of the CityKids Foundation of New York.  Back in 1986, some members of this organization created an enormous banner in celebration of the 100th birthday of the Statue of Liberty.  Sir Paul used this same banner as a backdrop to his performance of Freedom both during his Super Bowl XXXVI appearance and his Driving USA tour.

Keith Haring and his bannerThe 90 foot giant yellow banner called "CityKids Speak on Liberty" was the result of a collaboration between the CityKids Foundation and "the most universally recognized artist of the 1980s" the late Keith Haring, who died of AIDS in 1990 at the age of 31.   During the summer of 1986, Mr. Haring painted a black outline of the Statue of Liberty surrounded by joyful dancing figures on a giant banner. Over a 3-day period, the work was spread out on the floor of the Jacob Javits Center in New York city where it was embellished by hundreds of at-risk inner-city kids of every possible mixture of ethnic and cultural background.  The children were invited to add their personal comments and drawings on the meaning of freedom and liberty to the art work, a technique Mr. Haring often employed to give a voice to thousands of young people who otherwise might not have had the chance to express themselves.  Mr. Haring believed, "When I do drawings with or for children there is a level of sincerity that seems honest and pure."  Mr. Haring was thrilled with the work and marveled at the diversity of expression contained within the final result.  "They do this with every kind of painting technique imaginable. Children are the bearers of life in its simplest and most joyous form."

During his Madison Square Garden visit Sir Paul posed for pictures with the CityKids and their banner  - which now has ties to his own anthem to freedom and liberty, his song Freedom.  During this time, Sir Paul also had the opportunity to meet three CityKids alumni who helped to create this impressive work of art.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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