Fairbanks Downtown Art Tour

Welcome to downtown Fairbanks! In recent years, public art has exploded within the urban heart of Alaska. On this tour, you’ll visit thirteen vent pipes that stand adjacent to the streets and sidewalks of downtown and provide fresh air intake for the underground utilidor. These pipes were painted in original designs by thirteen local artists in the fall of 2012. As you tour the pipes, you’ll see designs ranging from muskox to Marilyn Monroe in bunny boots! They combine iconic Alaskan figures with creative flair and provide a quirky glimpse into the artistic eye of this far north community. Paint the Pipes is a joint project of the Downtown Association of Fairbanks and Project Fairbanks.

Begin your tour at the first pipe in Griffin Park, which is easily accessible by footpath from the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center at 101 Dunkel Street. Ample parking is available.

Show Map

Walking Tour Points

Description/​Design State­ment: Lin­gonber­ries are one of my favorite berries to pick, eat and paint. Few expe­ri­ences in life com­pare to the joy of com­ing into a boun­ti­ful patch of ripe, red berries in ear­ly fall. I would like to paint a pipe fea­tur­ing giant clus­ters of this pow­er­ful antiox­i­dant grow­ing against a bright blue Fair­banks sky.” Spon­sored By: Tanana Val­ley State Fair To reach the next pipe, fol­low Lacey Street past the…  ...more

Description/​Design State­ment: Until I moved to Fair­banks, I nev­er real­ized how spark­ly snow could be, or how it could stack flake upon flake with­out becom­ing a wet, white blob. This is one of the won­ders that is often over­looked when peo­ple talk of the extreme­ly cold, dry cli­mate. Fair­banks has the most beau­ti­ful snow­falls I have ever wit­nessed, and in this pipe design, view­ers will be able to enjoy the intri­ca­cy of snow crys­tals at…  ...more

Description/​Design State­ment: Bold col­or will enliv­en. Strong images will catch peo­ple’s eyes. Bun­ny boots, a Fair­banks icon, on an Amer­i­can icon, Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, is a clever mashup. Pink is so Mar­i­lyn.” Spon­sored By: Kick­starter Donors To reach the next pipe, turn right onto 2nd Avenue and walk one block to the west, until you reach the inter­sec­tion of 2nd Avenue and Lacey Street.   ...more

Description/​Design State­ment: Musk Oxen are unique char­ac­ters and real­ly fun to paint. For this project I used bright col­ors and mul­ti­ples to sur­round the pipe on all sides with a cir­cle of Musk Oxen. They are stand­ing in a rocky some­what bar­ren fall-like land­scape.” Spon­sored By: Big Ray’s To reach the next pipe, con­tin­ue walk­ing west on 2nd Avenue, about half a block. 

Description/​Design State­ment: Dan’s pipe depicts an Alaskan land­scape with rec­og­niz­able flo­ra and fau­na, and the north­ern lights danc­ing over­head. He incor­po­rates birds that are com­mon to the Inte­ri­or, includ­ing king­fish­ers, eagles, robins, and a gray dip­per perched on a rock. Dip­pers are exclu­sive to fast-mov­ing streams and walk under­wa­ter. Dan likes that his pipe design appears abstract from far away, but becomes real­is­tic upon approach.…  ...more

Description/​Design State­ment: When I first came to Alas­ka, win­ters were spent with my young daugh­ter, doing my best to come up with things for her to do. This rep­re­sents chil­dren, and the dreams and imag­i­na­tion they have.” Spon­sored By: Mt. McKin­ley Bank, S Salon & Stu­dio To find the next pipe, walk west on 4th Avenue toward Cush­man Street, and turn left to walk one block south on Cush­man Street. Turn right onto 5th Avenue and…  ...more

Description/​Design State­ment: Fire­weed says Alas­ka’ more than any oth­er sym­bol. If it were up to me, I would make the fire­weed the state flower. The shapes it takes through the sea­sons are as dras­tic as the weath­er. But, each shape and phase has a beau­ty all of its own. If I were to repaint the pipe, I would express fire­weed in at least 3 sea­sons. Know­ing I need­ed to keep my design sim­ple, I chose sum­mer. See­ing images of fire­weed in…  ...more

Description/​Design State­ment: One side of the pipe shows a dog and above him, the things he is dream­ing of; bis­cuits, food bowls, a dog house, etc. On the oth­er side of the pipe is a cat and her dream objects of food bowls, a toy mouse, a couch, etc. The back­ground sug­gests the north­ern lights. ” Spon­sored By: SpringHill Suites by Mar­riott To return to the Mor­ris Thomp­son Cul­tur­al & Vis­i­tors Cen­ter, con­tin­ue North on Cush­man Street…  ...more

Description/​Design State­ment: The design is of col­or­ful salmon swim­ming upstream (around the pipe). The salmon are swim­ming over col­or­ful riv­er rock.” Spon­sored By: 2 Street Gallery, UAF Com­mu­ni­ty & Tech­ni­cal Col­lege Reach the next pipe by walk­ing west on 2nd Avenue until you reach the inter­sec­tion of 2nd Avenue and Bar­nette Street.

Description/​Design State­ment: My design includes my 3 Fair­banks favs, Fox, Moose, and Raven, whoop­ing it up downtown…real par­ty ani­mals! I believe my design’s col­or, move­ment, and whim­sy will bright­en any cor­ner of Fair­banks.” Spon­sored By: Fair​banksAlas​ka​.com. Walk east on 2nd Avenue and cross Cush­man Street to reach the final pipe

Description/​Design State­ment: The idea for my pipe is that sense of whim­sy and won­der that makes up what Alas­ka can be at times. A sim­ple design of a girl and her pup, enjoy­ing the dance of the Auro­ra. The North­ern Lights wrap around the top part of the pipe, slow­ly danc­ing their way down to the trees. The trees are lay­ers upon one anoth­er using lighter col­ors to cre­ate depth of the scene. At the front of the scene is a girl with her dog,…  ...more

Description/​Design State­ment: Celes­tial, Alaskan, sun­ny, and bright like our team! Plus, a great com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice project to teach respon­si­bil­i­ty, ded­i­ca­tion, and art.” Spon­sored By: Gold­en Heart Util­i­ties, Project Fair­banks, True North Fed­er­al Cred­it Union, Ron­nie Rosen­berg, EcoSeg Alas­ka, PAWS for Adven­ture Sled Dog Tours, Arc­tic Chi­ro­prac­tic, and For­get-Me-Not Espres­so Get to the next pipe by walk­ing north on S Turn­er Street to the…  ...more

Description/​Design State­ment: North­ern lights are shown on the top of the pipe with the big dip­per. Below is an out­line of down­town Fair­banks and the north star above the city and the city’s name in gold. On one side of the bot­tom of the pipe is a riv­er with a gold pan pour­ing out gold nuggets, along with spruce trees and for­get-me-not flow­ers. The oth­er side includes flow­ers and a large gold rock with gold­en heart above it, representing…  ...more