Historical Plaques Project

FMATS Historic Plaques

The FMATS Historic Plaques were completed and shipped in late May 2014 and installed June 10, 2014. Nine plaques are now on display in the downtown Fairbanks greenspace. The final plaques are the culmination of many public meetings, hours of graphic design work, and the generosity of all who contributed time, ideas, and photos. FMATS sincerely appreciates all of the hard-work and contributions from the community to make this project a reality. To read a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article about the plaques, click here: Plaques portray history in downtown Fairbanks green space

Please visit the plaques and enjoy your new greenspace!

Project Background

When reviewing ideas from the public to develop a theme for the public artwork to be placed in the new downtown greenspace, the FMATS Art Advisory Selection Committee noticed significant desires for a literal history as well as more abstract themes in this important historical space. This space is located in the triangle that is formed where Barnette St. and Cushman St. meet just north of the Chena River. The committee proposed placing interpretive signage near the concrete plaza located at the north end of the greenspace in order to capture the site’s varied historical perspectives.  The artwork selected would be something less literal and more reflective of the environment, as noted in the theme to be considered by artists responding to the Request for Qualifications & Concepts:

Fairbanks is somehow fixed in this challenging geographical location by the balance between the long, dark, and cold winters and the warm, bright, and lush summers.  This dramatic combination of seasonal extremes is vital to Fairbanks’ success as a community.  The committee is requesting public art concepts that reflect the cyclic and extreme subarctic climate.  These concepts would portray the dramatic seasonal temperatures and arctic light changes as well as related spectacular phenomenon.  Concepts should reflect an awareness of being just 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle and isolated within the heart of a wild Alaska in both form and function.  The committee encourages public art concepts that acknowledge these changing physical properties through interactive components that will provide a periodic and fresh view.  The committee desires public art that is so site specific and appropriate that it could only be envisioned in Fairbanks, Alaska.

In response to the Art Advisory Committee’s response to public input to include historical elements in this space, FMATS approached the Policy Committee with a process for the development of a Historical Plaques project with funds from the public art project.   The process was approved on January 16, 2013 by the Policy Committee and can be found here.  The approved process included a suggested team of community representatives to develop the content and placement for the historical plaques, including individuals from the Pioneers of Alaska, the Tanana Valley Historical Society, Festival Fairbanks, and the Fairbanks North Star Borough Historical Preservation Commission.  FMATS staff will work to ensure existing and future community signage efforts are informed and considered for the duration of the project.  Please see the FMATS Calendar for meeting dates and times of the Historical Plaques Team.

Meeting Minutes

4.10.13 Meeting Minutes

3.11.13 Meeting Minutes

2.27.13 Meeting Minutes


Summer 2012 | Public Art in Fairbanks: Meet Your Greenspace by Amy Nordrum

October 2012 | Update on the Downtown Fairbanks Greenspace Public Art Project by Amy Nordrum, Downtown Association of Fairbanks