Kutztown Area School District Announces 2018 Distinguished Alumni of the year, Ms. Julie Stark, KAHS Class of 1979 and Mr. Keith Haring, KAHS Class of 1976
The KASD Education Foundation Board this week announced the 2018 Distinguished Alumni of the year, Ms. Julie Stark, Kutztown Area High School class of 1979 and Mr. Keith Haring, Kutztown Area High School class of 1976. Mr. Haring is being recognized posthumously.
Julie Stark was born in 1961. Following her graduation from Kutztown Area High School in 1979, she studied fine art at Kutztown University (KU). After graduation from KU, she moved to New York City, to do an internship for artist/photographer Cindy Sherman. She remained in New York City for 10 years working in photography, advertising and television. While working in New York for the USA Network, she began doing digital compositing, which led to exploring other work in visual effects. She then moved to Los Angeles and worked in visual effects in the film industry for 25 years.
While working in LA, she contributed to and worked on notable Academy Award winning films including: “The Golden Compass” Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects in 2008, “Happy Feet” Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2007, and “Django Unchained” Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Best Performance by an actor in a supporting role” in 2013. She was also a member of the team at Rhythm and Hues Studios that won a 2013 Oscar for Best Visual Effects for the film “Life of Pi.” Ironically, two weeks after being nominated for the 2013 Oscar, the company filed for bankruptcy. The company subsequently was sold to a firm in India.
Not wanting to move overseas to stay in the visual effects industry, Julie decided to chart a new course. She had always wanted to start a raw juice business. Julie had been juicing in her kitchen for years and had been a vegetarian since she was 14 but she truly started developing recipes when her son broke his jaw. Her recipes not only helped her son with the healing process but they were also very popular with many other friends. She had found a new passion that gave her an opportunity to start a new life. Consequently, Julie moved back to Berks County in 2013 to start her business. Stark Juice LLC was established in 2014 to produce a line of raw and unpasteurized juices made from seasonal, fresh, cold pressed fruits and vegetables. Julie’s business continues to operate today from Kempton PA.
Keith Haring was born on May 4, 1958 in Reading and raised in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. He developed a love for drawing at a very early age, learning basic cartooning skills from his father and from the popular culture around him, such as Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney. Upon graduation from Kutztown Area High School in 1976, Keith enrolled in the Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh, a commercial arts school. He soon realized that he had little interest in becoming a commercial graphic artist and, after two semesters, dropped out. While in Pittsburgh, Keith continued to study on his own and in 1978 had a solo exhibition of his work at the Pittsburgh Arts and Crafts Center. Later that same year, Keith moved to New York City and enrolled in the School of Visual Arts. In New York, Keith found a thriving alternative art community that was developing outside the gallery and museum system, in the downtown streets, the subways and spaces in clubs and former dance halls. Keith was determined to devote his career to creating truly public art.
Keith became one of the most renowned artists of the late 20th century. His unique, easily recognizable style quickly became popular around the world. Through his art, Keith commented on the socio-political issues that were important to him, and the messages he conveyed in his art were just as important as the medium. Keith believed that art is for everyone and made his work freely available in public places, at that same time that galleries and museums exhibited his work. He contributed his talents and resources to numerous causes. He conducted art workshops with children, created logos and posters for public service agencies, and produced murals, sculptures, and paintings to benefit health centers and disadvantaged communities. Prior to his death in 1990, Keith established a foundation charged with continuing his philanthropic and artistic legacy. The Foundation supports not-for-profit organizations that assist underprivileged children, as well as organizations involved in education, research, and care related to AIDS.
Ms. Stark & Mr. Haring will be honored at a reception held at Moselem Springs Country Club on Tuesday, June 5th, 2018, from 5pm to 7pm. Ms. Stark will also deliver the commencement address to the Kutztown Area High School’s graduating class of 2018 on Friday, June 8th.