Fairbanks’ story is told through end of the road artists, Alaska Native cultures and remnants of pipeline and gold rush history. Artistic expression and cultural and historic roots make Fairbanks an alluring and thought-provoking destination.
Alaska Native peoples have lived in Alaska for more than 14,000 years. The Interior and Arctic regions are primarily home to Athabascan Indians and Inupiaq and Yupik Inuits. Once nomadic, most Athabascans now live in urban centers or in small villages throughout Alaska’s vast Interior. Alaska Native artisans create works of art out of strikingly different materials. Athabascans work with caribou antler, birch bark, moose hide, porcupine quills, trade beads and more to make baskets and exquisite beadwork. Farther north in the Arctic, you will find Inupiaq and Yupik Inuit people. These resilient people are often coastal and create elegant carvings of the natural world around them out of walrus ivory, bone, caribou antler, whale baleen and driftwood. Alaska Native artists demonstrate, exhibit and sell their work in museums, galleries and specialty shops presenting an authentic view into the past as well as a bridge to the future.
Captivated by the pristine, all-encompassing wilderness; artists find the Fairbanks region a wellspring for creativity. Museums, exhibitions, local shops, open air markets and more display art of all kinds—paintings, ceramics, masks, found art, sculpture and photography. Local artisans craft brilliant works of art inspired by the nature and wilderness surrounding Fairbanks. Don’t forget to find that perfect keepsake to take home with you. Downtown has a strong artistic vibe, where painted ventilation pipes, drain covers and colorful murals populate and beautify.
Events like the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, Golden Days, year-round First Friday art shows, the Festival of Native Arts, the Midnight Sun Festival, the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and the Iron Dog all illustrate the story of the Tanana Valley.
Visit diverse venues that offer contemporary and traditional art, live music and theatre, Alaska Native cultural events, creative food and drink and historical exhibits about Fairbanks and the surrounding area.
I’m a lifelong resident simply because of the opportunities for artistic expression found nowhere else. The Fairbanks community is a diverse and abundant source of art in any form. Whether produced internally or influenced by visiting artists, our local arts culture is one of inclusiveness and cooperation. Visitors and residents alike can find their most concentrated niche or indulge in popular genres. Accessibility is a common theme and participation from all walks of life is what gives our performances and fine art a uniquely Alaskan identity. Art is our way of connecting the beauty of our region with the warmth of the people who live here.