Gary Freeburg was a professor of art and the director of Sawhill Gallery (now Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art) at JMU 2008-2017. Freeburg received three degrees in photography: a B.F.A. and M.A. from Minnesota State University at Mankato in 1974 and 1977 and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1978.

He lived and worked in Alaska for 25 years and served as a professor of art at the University of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula College, where he directed the art program and served as the curator in the campus art gallery that now bears his name.

Freeburg has worked with renowned photographers and educators, such as Ansel Adams, Oliver Gagliani, and John Schulze, and his photographs have been exhibited nationally and appeared in Under Northern Lights, Writers and Artists View the Alaskan Landscape and Looking North (University of Washington Press, 1998; 2000).

He has received an Individual Artist Fellowship Grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts, Anchorage; an honorary degree for his contribution to the visual arts from Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage; and an Art Educator of the Year Award in Higher Education from the Alaska Art Education Association.

He was recognized by the Getty Center for Education in the Arts for his art advocacy work in Alaska and Washington, DC, and a documentary film by George C. Johnson, An Artist's Journey to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes: The Photography of Gary Freeburg, serves as a capstone to Freeburg's photographic work in the wilderness of Alaska.

A Minneapolis native, Freeburg is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War.

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