Governor Bill Walker appointed Alice Bioff and Cordelia Kellie and reappointed Benjamin Brown as Chair and Kesler Woodward as Vice-Chair, to the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA).
The Council‘s mission is to represent, support and advance the creative endeavors of individuals, organizations and agencies throughout Alaska. ASCA considers the arts and creative sector to include: organizations, businesses, groups and individuals who serve as creators, designers, makers, educators, administrators, producers, presenters and distributors in the areas of visual art, music, literature, fashion, poetry, performing arts, cultural practices and traditions, culinary arts, language preservation, graphic design, architecture, public spaces, film and media.
Brown commented, “We are delighted that Governor Walker has appointed Alice Bioff and Cordelia Kellie to the Alaska State Council on the Arts. These two wonderful Alaska Native women have impressive and unique skills, experiences and abilities that will contribute greatly to our work in enriching the lives of all Alaskans. I am honored to be re-appointed to the position of chair and extremely grateful that Kes Woodward will continue in his role as vice-chair of the Council. ASCA faces challenges as do all parts of state government, and we are fully committed to working creatively and diligently to find ways to maintain and improve our capacity to deliver the best services to all the people of the Great Land in this time of transformation.”
Alice Tunuunataq Bioff, Iñupiaq from Koyuk, Alaska, has worked in Kawerak's Community Planning and Development department since March 2010. As the business planning specialist, Alice acts as a resource partner connecting small business entrepreneurs to Alaska Small Business Development Center advisors and other resources that offer technical assistance in small business development to the residents of the sixteen communities of the Bering Strait Region. In this capacity, she has been working with regional Alaska Native artists such as traditional carvers from St. Lawrence Island and other Bering Strait communities, to assist in developing business opportunities and networks. Alice has worked for native non-profit organizations for over eighteen years since attaining her BA degree in rural development from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. In addition, Alice brings with her the experience of owning her own business for eight years.
Cordelia Qiġnaaq Kellie, of Wasilla, is a writer, communicator and community advocate whose mission is to contribute to Alaska through community engagement, collaboration and development for the interests of indigenous people. She is the daughter of John and Agnes Kellie and is of Iñupiaq, Scottish, Cherokee and Choctaw descent. Raised in Wasilla, her family is from Wainwright and Washington, and she has family living across the North Slope. Cordelia received a bachelor’s degree in English rhetoric and communications from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 2011 and her work has included rural community economic development, stakeholder engagement, external communications, legislative affairs and language and cultural instruction. Cordelia is currently living in Barrow, working in tribal education at Iḷisaġvik College and will be attending the University of Alaska, Fairbanks this fall for her masters in rural development with an emphasis in arctic policy. Cordelia enjoys learning Iñupiaq, organizing community events and growing in understanding about social issues. She also publishes Nalliq, an online repository of stories and poetry about indigenous issues.
Benjamin Brown, of Juneau, has served on the Alaska State Council on the Arts since 2004, first as vice-chairman and since 2007 as chairman. He is a lifelong Alaskan and a company member at Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska. Brown is an attorney who serves on the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission and was previously an associate at Baxter Bruce & Sullivan, P.C., working on both criminal and civil matters. He was a legislative aide in Juneau and Anchorage prior to attending law school, and in the past served on the boards of the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, Juneau public radio/television station Capital Community Broadcasting, and Coast Alaska, the consortium of Southeast Alaska public stations. Brown currently serves as First Vice-President of the Board of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and on the Board of Alaska Public Media, a statewide public broadcaster based in Anchorage. Brown graduated from Palmer High School, and holds degrees from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and Northeastern University's School of Law.
Kesler Woodward, of Fairbanks, retired in 2000 as professor of art emeritus at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks to make his own art full-time, but he continues to serve on graduate art and northern studies committees and as an Academic Affiliate at the University of Alaska Museum. Since 1983 he has served on the Alaska State Council on the Arts under seven Alaskan governors, and he served ten years on the board of the Western States Arts Federation, including two terms as chair. Woodward received the first Alaska Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in 2004, and he was selected as the Rasmuson Foundation’s Distinguished Alaska Artist in 2012.