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.
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: FairbanksAlaska.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