Downtown Greenspace Public Art

The downtown greenspace takes shape in Fall 2012.

Creation of the FMATS Art Selection Advisory Committee
The Policy Committee of the Fairbanks Metropolitan Area Transportation System (FMATS) heard the community’s concern about the enhancements that were proposed for the newly created greenspace between Cushman Street and Barnette Street on the north side of the Chena River.

In response to the community’s concerns, FMATS was tasked with forming a citizen committee to solicit ideas from the community and build on these ideas to commission a project that will enhance this special green space in downtown Fairbanks. The  FMATS Art Selection Advisory Committee was formed with local citizen volunteers from the Fairbanks Arts Association, The Pioneers of Alaska, The Downtown Association, The Tanana Valley Historical Society, Doyon Limited, Festival Fairbanks, the Chena Riverfront Commission, and local artists. The committee cares deeply about how the Fairbanks community is represented in this space and it is of the goal of the committee that your ideas are the foundation upon which these enhancements are created.  The Committee seeks a concept that can engage and resonate with the entire community. This concept should reflect the sense of this place for Fairbanksans and visitors alike. This concept must provide for a project that we can all be proud of for years to come.

Meet Your Greenspace! Kick-off Event held April 28, 2012.

Public Involvement.  Our Art Selection Committee’s process began with encouraging the community to consider the potential for public art at this significant space adjacent to the Chena River. To kick-off this effort, the committee held an event on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at the the Big I parking lot to encourage the community to consider the potential for Public Art at this significant place (a big thanks to John Jackovich for hosting the event!). We listened to what you thought about possible themes, impressions and dreams of what can happen here. We have worked to understand what this greenspace can mean to you and what it can mean to our town. This is was a chance to help Fairbanks explain itself!

The Selection Process.  The public comments submitted guided us in preparing our Request for Qualifications & Concepts which was the the basis of our search for Public Art.  The public comment period closed May 30, 2012.  The committee received 99 responses to the RFQ/C by August 27, 2012, and selected 5 finalists to respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP) with a fully developed proposal of the artists’ concepts. After a thorough review of the RFP, the committee recommended a finalist for approval by the FMATS Policy Committee.  The FMATS Policy Committee approved the artist team IE Creative, Inc., during the November 21, 2012 meeting.

The committee carefully evaluates over 90 responses to the RFQ/C.

For a brief presentation on the selection process, please see this presentation.

Public meetings for this project have come to a close, but meeting summaries are available for each of the previous meetings.

3-D Model of Polaris

3-D Model of Polaris

FINAL SELECTION.  The final selection, approved by the FMATS Policy Committee on November 21, 2012, is IE Creative Arworks, Inc. out of Vancouver, British Columbia.  The proposed concept, “Polaris” is a 36-ft tall sculpture that will be situated in the newly constructed greenspace just north of the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks. Amy Nordrum, a member of the FMATS Art Selection Advisory Committee and a staff of the Fairbanks Downtown Association, writes of the proposed concept, “The structure will be lit with LED lights that slowly change colors and are projected from inside the base of the structure toward the sky, and reflect off of the spires to dazzle and delight those who pass by in cars or on foot.”  To see the Downtown Association article, please click here, for the Alaska Dispatch article, click here. For further reading on the finalist, see the FMATS article.

The sculpture was unveiled at a community event on September 17, 2014. There were several hundred people in attendance. The Polaris seems to take on a different look as it relates to the surrounding environment and the uniqueness of the Fairbanks sky and weather.

9.17.14 Polaris with red ribbon - Smaller     051 Polaris   IMG_2614