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One of Alaska's best known artists, Kesler Woodward moved to Alaska in 1977. He served as Curator of Visual Arts at the Alaska State Museum and as Artistic Director of the Visual Arts Center of Alaska before moving to Fairbanks in 1981. He retired in 2000 as Professor of Art Emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he taught for two decades, serving as Chair of the Art Department and as Chair of the Division of Arts and Communications. He serves on numerous not-for-profit arts boards, and has served on the Alaska State Council on the Arts at the pleasure of seven Governors of Alaska.

Woodward's paintings are included in all major public art collections in Alaska and in museum, corporate and private collections on both coasts of the United States. Solo exhibits to his credit include the Morris Museum of Art, University of Alaska Museum, Alaska State Museum, Anchorage Museum, Nevada Art Museum, and public and commercial galleries throughout the U.S. and in Canada. Juried and invitational exhibitions including his work have ranged from Alaska to Brazil and Russia.

Also an art historian and curator, Woodward since 1990 has published six books on Alaskan art, including the first comprehensive survey of the fine arts in Alaska, Painting in the North, published by the Anchorage Museum and University of Washington Press in 1993. He has lectured on art of the circumpolar north from Alaska to Georgia, New England, and the British Museum in London.

In October, 2004, Kesler Woodward received the Alaska Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. In 2012 he received the Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Alaskan Artist Fellowship.