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Exhibit explores changes in Fairbanks cityscapes

Submitted by Kerynn Fisher
Phone: 907-474-6941

04/02/09

Photo caption below.
David Mollett's "Fairbanks Rooftops" is one of the artworks featured in the special exhibit "RENEW: Fairbanks Cityscapes."
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A new exhibit at the University of Alaska Museum of the North looks at changes in Fairbanks over the years through the eyes of artists, architects and community planners. "RENEW: Fairbanks Cityscapes" opens April 4 and runs through May 10 in the museum's special exhibits gallery.

The exhibit features an eclectic mix of objects from the museum's fine arts and archaeology collections, photographs, loans from community members, video footage from the archives at UAF's Rasmuson Library, a virtual tour of historic Fairbanks and planning maps from the Fairbanks North Star Borough and Fairbanks Downtown Association used to illustrate potential future land uses. All these are interspersed with statements and observations from community members. Collectively, these materials show that creating a livable city is a dynamic and ongoing process, and one that can be shaped by all residents.

Like community planning in general, the exhibit will have ample opportunity for input from residents and visitors. Last month, the museum began soliciting digital photos that show how people live, work and play in Fairbanks. These images are being incorporated into a slide show that captures the essence of life in Fairbanks from various user groups. The museum will continue to accept images through May 4 and incorporate them into the slide show weekly until the special exhibit closes on May 10.

The museum will also invite feedback from visitors in a novel form: instead of limiting feedback to a comment book at the exhibit entrance, visitors will be invited to add their thoughts to post-it notes on the walls of the exhibit. The hope is that subsequent visitors will respond to these contributions to create a user-driven dialogue among the visitors.

"This is a new format for us and we're eager to see how people respond to it," says exhibit director Wanda Chin. "We've provided a framework for discussion in this exhibit, but the visitor experience overall will be very much shaped by what Fairbanksans themselves contribute over the life of the exhibit."

"RENEW: Fairbanks Cityscapes" is potentially the first stage of a more in-depth exhibit.

"There's too much ground to cover in one exhibit," says Chin. "We probably have the seeds for two or three exhibits here. Feedback from visitors and community members will help us shape the vision for a future exhibit."

Admission to the special exhibit is included in the museum's general admission price: $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $5 for youth 7-17 and free for children 6 and under. Museum members and UAF students (with valid ID) also receive free admission. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed on Sundays. Information on the museum's programs and exhibits is available at 907-474-7505 and online at www.uaf.edu/museum.

CONTACT: Kerynn Fisher, University of Alaska Museum of the North communications coordinator, at 907-474-6941 or 907-378-2559.