'Polaris' – Fairbanks, Alaska - Atlas Obscura


The sculpture's largest spire points directly toward the North Star. 


An arresting collection of crossing steel spires, “Polaris” combines the ideas of ice, quartz, and the Aurora Borealis, the world-famous nightly electrical atmospheric phenomenon that Fairbanks, Alaska, is ideally positioned for. Its longest spire points directly at the North Star.

The artwork was designed and constructed by artists Michael Vandermeer and Cheryl Hamilton in Vancouver, Canada and then transported to Fairbanks. It had to be able to withstand all the weather Alaska could throw at it, as well as any unwelcome attention from locals.

The unique weather can also turn the sculpture into its own light display. There are reflections from the “midnight sun,” while the programmed LED lighting shifts colors over the sculpture during the dark months.

The sculpture is close to the major bridges over the River Chena, the lively Big International (or Big I) bar, and the Immaculate Conception Catholic church, which was built in 1904.

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