Kesler E. Woodward

2012 Distinguished ArtistVisual ArtsAward Amount: $25,000

2012 Distinguished Artist Award

Kesler Woodward, or Kes as friends call him, paints Alaska. His canvases capture the natural beauty of Interior Alaska—the oranges and magentas of winter light, richly colored mountain ranges, textured birch trees. Woodward is known for illuminating individualism in the natural world, the details of a tree trunk or the beauty of a fallen leaf.

Woodward was born in South Carolina and earned his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College in North Carolina, where he switched his major from chemistry to art soon after taking a painting class and making a trip to his first art museum—the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. He continued his art education at Idaho State University, earning a Master of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking. He moved to Alaska in 1977. A leader in the arts community, his work can be found in major museum, corporate, and private collections. In addition, he has published eight books about the art and art history of the North and served as a curator at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau and as artistic director of the Visual Arts Center of Alaska, in Anchorage. In 1981 he moved to Fairbanks, where he taught art and mentored young artists at the University of Alaska for two decades. He still lives in Fairbanks, where he continues to paint, collaborate with artists and writers, and serve arts organizations.

Artwork by Kesler E. Woodward

This art was purchased through the Alaska Art Fund managed by Museums Alaska.