Art Forum: David Keefe
David Keefe is an artist, educator, activist, and administrator. David regularly practices and exhibits his paintings, papermaking, prints, and art throughout the country. For the last 4 years, he has co-developed and built Combat Paper NJ (CPNJ) into a nationally recognized and awarded program. CPNJ is a community and social practice art project that brings veterans and non-veterans together to make paper and art out of military uniforms. Ultimately, the goal is for veterans to publicly share the veteran experience, make witnesses of bystanders, and change the culture of the “silent veteran." He currently holds the position of Senior Assistant Dean for Veteran Initiatives at Columbia University’s School of General Studies. At Columbia University, Dave is in the process of developing a hub of veteran activity that will strengthen the veteran community, centralize resources, and bring in new resources, such as the arts. David is also the co-founder of a non-profit called Frontline Arts, which supports socially engaging art projects (including Combat Paper NJ) through tailored strategies and resources to connect artists with communities—mobilizing on the frontlines of contemporary social issues. For the last 7 years, David has also been an Adjunct Professor of Art at Montclair State University where he has developed the “Combat Paper for Veterans” class. The course is a veteran-only class that uses the CPNJ model of storytelling and community building - the only class of it’s kind in the country. Dave has also taught painting and various levels of independent study at MSU. Because of his own art and his work with Combat Paper NJ, he has been a visiting artist and lecturer at various Universities and Museums, a keynote speaker, featured in numerous TV shows and articles, published, featured speaker and panelist at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, and awarded the Krider Prize for Creativity in 2013. He is also a curator, and works on art projects and pedagogical art practices as a consultant. From 2001-2009, he served as a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, and from 2006-2007 he completed a tour of combat duty in Iraq as a riverine infantry scout. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Montclair State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Delaware. David works out of his studio in Montclair, NJ, alongside his artist wife, and their 4 wild and artistic kids.