The house kept its promises. It’s indeed a fixer-upper (“It’ll soak up all the attention and dollars you want to put into it,” Scott said) and it’s neat: the house is a mecca for Keith Haring fans. It’s not uncommon for the Garners to find strangers in their driveway or on their porch, hoping to get a photo or peek out a window.
“We had a pizza delivery guy come to the door, and as he handed me the pizza, I noticed he had a Keith Haring tattoo on his arm,” Angela said. “He said, ‘I can’t believe I’m delivering to the Haring house. “”
For nearly 20 years, the Garners have been good sportsmen about attention, graciously allowing photos and occasionally inviting people inside to see the treasure in the back room.
After leaving Kutztown, Haring studied art in Pittsburgh, then traveled to New York, where his street art caused a stir. His signature style are line drawings of dancing figures, their movements suggested by quivering lines, and the Radiant Baby, a crawling baby figure with lines radiating outward.
As he became one of the most internationally recognized artists of the 1980s, he often returned to Kutztown to visit his parents. During a stay, it is not known exactly when, he drew a Radiant Baby in gold ink next to the bedroom door, above the light switch.
At the height of his notoriety, Haring fell victim to the AIDS epidemic of the time. He died in 1990 at the age of 31.
The little doodle in his old bedroom has become a hidden secret of the art world.
“Over the years, from time to time, we might contact a museum or a collector in Japan, or write to a university in Oklahoma. And there was just no response,” Scott said. “So you’re busy with life, you’re raising a family and you don’t come back to it.”
Now, 18 years after finding the home, the Garners have a son who will soon be going to college. Whatever extra money little doodle Haring might bring in could mean a lot to their child’s education.
At work driving a limo, Scott is a talker. Last winter, one of his passengers was an artist, so he mentioned he had an original Keth Haring on the wall in his spare room. This artist gave him the number of art consultant Christine Oaklander.
“So last December I got a phone message that sounded so absurd,” Oaklander recalled. “I have a bit of a reputation as an object-adventurer, so I said, ‘Let me go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.'”