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The Painted Pipes of Fairbanks

Marilyn Monroe painted pipe, Fairbanks, Alaska
Marilyn with Bunny Boots, David Hayden.
Noble Street and 2nd Avenue
These ventilation pipes  provide fresh air intake for utilidors (utility corridor) that run under the streets of downtown Fairbanks. Thirteen of these pipes have been artistically painted by local artists for Paint the Pipes which is a joint project of the Downtown Association of Fairbanks and Project Fairbanks.

Sadly, the original Marilyn pipe was vandalized in May 2018. Marilyn Pipes Up was sprayed with green paint. The culprit/culprits were never caught. The artist had spent 40 hours to paint the pipe in 2012 only to see it trashed a few years later. But he repainted Marilyn (with the help of sponsors) and added something new - the bunny boots! 

Lingonberry Love, Gail Priday.
Griffin Park towards Chena River.
Priday loves picking lingonberries. And what better way to show this love for the fruit than to render it in color on this pipe.

Fairbanks, Mica Fairchild.
5th Avenue between Cushman and Barnette Streets
These vent pipes represent everything that is special about Fairbanks. It is the Golden Heart City.

World of Winter, Sarah DeGennaro
First Avenue and Lacey Street
DeGennaro wants the viewer to enjoy the “intricacy of snow crystals at monumental scale and detail”.

Up Stream, Kate Wood
2nd Avenue across from Key Bank
Wood paints the quintessential Alaskan salmon swimming upstream.

Downtown Shoppers, Laura Nutter
Barnette Street
What happens when the fox, the moose and the raven get together? The party of parties begins! 

Fireweed. Nikki Kinne
2nd Avenue
For the artist, fireweed is the essence of Alaska. She chose to paint the fireweed in summer to remind her and us that “dark and cold” will pass.

Under the Midnight Sun. Junior Roller Girlz
3rd Avenue and S. Turner Street
Alaska experiences as much as 22 hours of sunlight from mid April to August which is why it is called the Land of the Midnight Sun. 

Pet Dreams. Karen Austen. 2013
Cushman Street
The artist portrays the dreams of a dog and a cat with the northern lights in the background.

Spirit Dance. Lucas Elliott.
2nd Avenue and S. Turner Street
Elliott paints a girl with her dog dancing under Aurora skies.

Interior Alaskan Images, Dan Kennedy
Lacey and 3rd Street
Kennedy depicts the flora and fauna of Interior Alaska. Notice the bear, moose kingfisher, eagle, the snow covered mountains and the northern lights above.

Dreaming, Mica Hendricks 
Lacey and 4th Avenue
Dreaming represents the dreams and imaginations of children.

Musk Ox, Iris Sutton
Excessive hunting eradicated the muskoxen population in Alaska in the late 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The good news is they were reintroduced to Nunivak Island in 1935 and are now thriving there and in other parts of the last frontier. Iris Sutton says her paintings “explore Alaska’s wildlife and landscape with vibrant and bold color and contrast”. She uses color to give an animal personality and emotion according to her website,

What’s nice about searching for these pipes is that they are all in the downtown area and within walking distance from each other. I had fun discovering all of them.


Images by TravelswithCharie


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