Art is powerful: Downtown Association calls artists to enrich Fairbanks

Jeremia Schrock/Special to the Sun Star
July 26, 2013

Photo provided by Jeremia Schrock.

Photo provided by Jeremia Schrock.

Art is powerful. Whether it’s a temporary installment or a permanent piece, nothing has captivated and enriched the human soul for generations like art.

Walk around campus at any point in the year and you’ll see a bevy of public art: UAF’s annual Free Speech Wall, the wire creations outside the Fine Arts Complex, the agonized turtles of Constitution Park and Totem, the whale-inspired sculpture outside the Museum of the North. The art that decorates campus speaks to the creativity and genius of local artists, both professional and student.

Now, through The Windows Project, the Downtown Association of Fairbanks is looking to use some of that same genius and creativity to enrich and rejuvenate the downtown heart of Fairbanks. The Downtown Association is looking for Fairbanks artists – including students – to help cover the vacant windows of downtown Fairbanks with digital art. We want to make downtown Fairbanks the place to be, both artistically and economically.

Digital artwork will be printed on colorful vinyl wraps and plastered across the ground floor windows of approximately a dozen spaces. One artist will be assigned to illustrate the windows of each vacant property. All artwork will be centered on the theme of “edge”, a word that can be both abstract and literal.

Public art has been used to enliven cities across the U.S. It turns an empty space into a vibrant place. When people have a reason to see something new and exciting (like art) they flock to it. When businesses see a city working to encourage economic and artistic investment, it happens. If we invest in ourselves, others will join in. The future of downtown Fairbanks belongs to the college student and the young professional. It’s time we start taking ownership of our future.

At the end of the day, art is also good. It makes us laugh and cry and – most importantly – it makes us feel. If some empty spaces remain vacant for years to come, the youth of Fairbanks have helped activate them artistically. If there is no business, let there at least be public art. Art to be enjoyed and to encourage thought. Either way, we win.

If you have a good eye, a camera, or a working computer then submit your artwork to the project. If you’re art is selected, you’ll receive a $100 stipend. Cash prizes will also be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place artists as chosen by the public. Digital art can be submitted online. The deadline is July 31.

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