The Kenai Peninsula College Gallery was constructed in 1987 by Gary L. Freeburg, the Art Department chair of the college. He occupied that position for 20 years, retiring in the spring of 2002.
He saw the gallery on campus as a fundamental educational vehicle for exposing students to the finest exemplars in the visual arts that the state could provide. Over its 15-year history, the gallery has become a visual center of the Kenai campus, a visual laboratory for students and a showcase for students' work. It has also become one of the most significant venues for the visual arts on the peninsula. It can attract over 100 people at a time for events associated with the visual arts such as exhibitions, receptions and artist lectures and workshops. The gallery is one of the few visual arts galleries at an extended site within the University of Alaska system.
As well as his commitment to teaching with the UA system at KPC and constructing and directing the campus gallery, Gary made enormous contributions to the arts of the state of Alaska. His photographs are part of the permanent collections of the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks, Kenai Peninsula College, The State Council on the Arts State Arts Bank and the Kenai Peninsula Visitors and Cultural Center.
He was awarded the Alaska Arts Educator of the Year Award in Higher Education. He was awarded an honorary degree from Alaska Pacific University for his contribution to the visual arts of the state. He received individual artists fellowships awards and travel grants to continue his photography of the Alaskan landscape. He has served as guest lecturer and juror as well as curator of major exhibitions in the state. He has served for five years as an instructional team member of the "Intergrate the Arts with Integrity" Arts Institute for Alaskan Educators, a program of the Kennedy Center for the Visual and Performing Arts.
His most recent project is a photographic survey of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Katmai National Park. Gary's images of Katmai have been published in a volume through the "Center for American Places," bringing further national attention to the state. . The final exhibition of the 2001-2002 school year in the KPC Gallery was a body of work, photographs and drawings of "The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes," by Gary L. Freeburg. It is only appropriate that upon his retirement, his creation, the gallery, should bear his name.