Very few art festivals in the country are as boldly multi-disciplinary as the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival with classes in music, dance, theatre, visual arts, literary arts, culinary arts, and healing arts.
Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival (FSAF) runs around July 13th-27th. A thousand people, from beginners to advanced practitioners, register each year to explore their inner artist. FSAF brings in 120+ guest artists from around the globe to afford Alaskans the opportunity to learn new artistic techniques and spread their knowledge through instructors.
Whether you want to be part of a drum circle, learn to play the spoons, overcome stage fright, or take your singing to the next level—there’s a class for you at FSAF. A few of the most popular include steel pan, gospel choir, and course that casts participants to perform operatic and musical theatre scenes with a full orchestra. Another immerses professional composers for eight days in the Denali wilderness to focus on sounds in nature.
Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival offers a multi-day immersive in the visual arts at Chena Hot Springs. Courses in graphic design, break dancing, and salsa/swing are also debuting this year.
Whatever your preference, there is an option to fit nearly every schedule, as FSAF has introduced mini-workshops (sushi, pilates, or glass fusion, anyone?) that only last a few hours on a single afternoon for those constrained by work or travel.
In addition, FSAF hosts dozens of concerts and performances throughout the two-week festival, including World Music & Dance, Beatles Revue, and American Roots. You get concert cash with class registration, or by volunteering for a few hours during the festival.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to drop in on the festival is via Lunch Bites, a series of free concerts during the lunch hour in places like the Co-Op Plaza, Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, and Golden Heart Plaza in downtown Fairbanks.
Passing through Denali National Park? FSAF is there, too, with the Second Annual Denali Music Festival on Saturday, July 20th. A chamber orchestra will perform an original piece inspired by Denali.
FSAF is used to hosting out-of-towners and offers on-campus housing at University of Alaska Fairbanks through UAF Reslife Conference Services (907-474-6769) for a reasonable rate ($24/night for singles; $48/night for doubles). More travel information is available at their website.
Note: Due to construction at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2013, FSAF is unable to rent space at UAF and is being relocated to 32 venues throughout Fairbanks (click for map).
Register for courses online at fsaf.org or call the office at (907) 474-8869.
*Photos taken by Todd Paris