Sculpture Created by UVU Professor Unveiled in SLC


 A statue sculpted by a UVU professor and unveiled on Friday, Jan. 3 at 137 S. Main Street in Salt Lake City honors entrepreneur and philanthropist Vasilios Priskos. Salt Lake Mayor Jackie Biskupski described Prisko as a “long-term [thinker] who understood vision.” Priskos was a real estate magnate and an advocate for historic preservation and downtown Salt Lake’s continued development. The 8-foot bronze statue that will ensure his contributions are forever remembered was created by Utah Valley University’s Daniel Fairbanks, a professor of biology and university research officer. Fairbanks is also a renowned artist. He was selected by a group of private donors, the Downtown Alliance, and the City of Salt Lake to create the statue honoring their beloved colleague, mentor, and friend who died from cancer in 2017.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski speaking at sculpture unveiling

“For me, it’s an honor,” said Fairbanks. Although he never had the opportunity to meet Priskos, Fairbanks says he feels a connection to the businessman. “He was very influential in the renaissance of downtown SLC, particularly Main Street.” The revitalization had a personal impact on Fairbanks, who grew up a few blocks from where the statue now stands. It’s also an area replete with other sculptures and works of art created by his great-grandfather, grandfather, and father, including the Eagle Gate monument. He said the Fairbanks share a common love with the Priskos for the city. “This brings the Priskos family and the Fairbanks family together in a truly unique and remarkable way.”

Daniel Fairbanks and Mayor Jackie Biskupski pose with sculpture of Vasilios Priskos.

Dr. Fairbanks worked closely with the family to create the sculpture of Vasilios, utilizing photos and his two sons and a brother as models. In the process, he came to know the man he was sculpting. “There’s something with portraiture that brings an artist to have a relationship with the subject that no one else can have. I become so familiar with the face and the physical features of that individual because I am looking for things that I have to replicate that most people don’t recognize in detail.” Special attention was given to expression and stance. Fairbanks said he hopes those who knew the community giant well will recognize him as he was. He also hopes that those who did not know Priskos will be captivated by the statue and appreciate him for his place in history.

 “The surroundings that we see now and as beautiful as they are, we can attribute a lot of that to Vasilios,” Fairbanks said.


Daniel Fairbanks poses with sculpture of Vasilios Priskos.

Sculpture of Vasilios Priskos.