Painting in Alaska was one of our most ambitious goals when we started the Greetings Tour in 2015. After touring the Lower 48 for 3 years, we decided it was time to cross off our last state to visit. They say Alaska is a dangerous road trip, but we got there without a scratch. We planned to spend Summer 2018 up north, going as far and wide as we could. A month into traveling the Final Frontier, we painted our Greetings from Alaska mural in Anchorage, AK.
Our original plans to paint in the state’s capital, Juneau, AK fell through, but we were still determined to make it happen on our own. We had everything ready to go including design and supplies, we just needed permission to paint a decent wall, anywhere in Alaska.
We drove the Alaska Highway to Fairbanks and we got engaged in Denali National Park on the Teklanika River. We made way down to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska. The town was throwing their weekly summer festival downtown where we introduced ourselves to Anchorage Downtown Partnership. We shared our mission with them and they were immediately on board. The next day, the ADP Executive Director, Jaime, presented a handful of walls and we chose to paint on the Alaska Travel Industry Association building.
After getting our wall, we waited for a few things to fall into place. We filled the time by driving south to the peninsula to check out Seward and Homer. We cruised through Kenai Fjords National Park and best of all, Lisa co-piloted a float plane to Katmai National Park to see active volcanos, glaciers and brown bears grazing the untouched meadows. We were excited to make use of our research from personal experiences for the content inside the letters of the mural, using references from Lisa's photos.
We then returned to Anchorage to start painting.
While this is a big city, there's still wildlife wandering through downtown and there's even salmon fishing in the middle of the city - Only in Alaska. Along with the elements of nature, there's also the people you have to watch out for. We had our first literal wakeup call when someone tried stealing our bikes off the Greetings RV the first night we spent at the wall. He was unsuccessful, but it was our first hand introduction to a place where crime is highest in the country. Fortunately, the wonderful people we've met up here easily outshine any negative experiences that we had.
One of the strangest experiences of painting this mural was the amount of daylight here during summer months. We typically paint sunrise to sunset, but that was definitely not an option in this case considering the midnight sun. We couldn't have gotten any luckier with the weather, hitting a streak of back to back blue skies which was extremely rare. The locals told us sunny summer skies last a total of two weeks, then winter is on its way.
We celebrated the completion of the mural on the 4th of July. ADP invited us over for a beautiful rooftop cookout. Later that day our new friends Matt and Mikey showed us a local spot for a picnic with the famous Moose's Tooth pizza. Thank you to all who helped make this happen. We hope the mural holds significance over the years greeting locals and tourists to your city!
A — Katmai Brown Bear
L — (cont.) Bear Catching Salmon
A — Denali View South
S — (cont.) Bush Plane
K — Kenai Fjords National Park, Whale Tale
A — (cont.) Bald Eagle & Kayakers
Location: 610 E 5th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99501