Honoring the Life and Legacy of Bill Keefauver

Barbara and Bill Keefauver

We are saddened to learn that Bill Keefauver, avid supporter, long-time benefactor, and friend of Morris Arts passed away on May 9th at age 100.

Bill was deeply involved with Morris Arts from the very beginning. His late wife, Barbara Keefauver, was one of Morris Arts’ founders, held the role of Executive Director for 17 years, and later served on the Board of Trustees. Bill fiercely supported her goal of bringing more arts programming to the Morris County area.

At Morris Arts’ 35th Anniversary Celebration in 2009, Bill generously gifted a $100,000 endowment to Morris Arts in memory of Barbara. Each year, this endowment brings an arts education program to a public school in the area through the Keefauver Artist Residency Grant. These residency programs allow schools to engage teaching artists who work with students on a variety of projects that encourage creativity and self-expression.

This year’s Keefauver Artist Residency Grant helped to fund Frelinghuysen Middle School’s (FMS) Mosaic Legacy Project.

During this residency, Mosaic and Tile Artist Laura Lyn Stern worked with over 300 eighth graders to create three medallions representing each of the houses at FMS. The mosaics are made up of designs by Laura Lyn along with tiles created by each individual student showcasing their personality.

Mosaic medallions at Frelinghuysen Middle School, which the Keefauver Artist Residency Grant helped to fund.

Because of this program, made possible by Bill’s generosity, these students were able to leave a piece of their legacy at FMS and create a piece of art that will beautify the school for years to come.

Over the years, funding from the Keefauver Artist Residency Grant has touched the lives of countless students and school communities. From mural painting to cartoon illustration to dance performances, these residencies have given students the opportunity to learn new skills, express themselves, and work together.

Students painting a mural during the Copeland Middle School residency funded by the Keefauver Artist Residency Grant.
The final mural in Copeland Middle School.

Bill didn’t just provide funding for these art experiences – he visited school residencies to support these incredible projects and performances in person. The Keefauver Artist Residency Grant has already made a huge impact on students in the Morris County area and will continue to inspire future generations for many years to come.

Bill Keefauver made a profound and immeasurable impact not only on Morris Arts, but our entire community. He will be missed, but his legacy will certainly not be forgotten.