CONTACT: MONTE BONA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TALK ON AVARD FAIRBANKS KICKS OFF
U.S. HIGHWAY 89 LECTURE SERIES
Utah artist Avard Fairbanks, especially known for his sculptures of Abraham Lincoln, is the topic of the first lecture in a new series that will highlight “The Famous and Infamous”‘ of Utah’s U.S. Highway 89.
Vern Swanson, director of the Springville Art Museum, who knew Fairbanks personally, will give the lecture April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Fairview Museum. All of the lectures in the series, which will be held throughout cities and towns along the Heritage Highway U.S. 89, are free and open to the public.
“I will be talking about the man and his work, he was a dynamic person. Anyone around him got a mindful of information, he was amazing and had a tremendous gift for guile,” Swanson says. “When I say a mindful of information, I mean he could talk about the evils of modernism to how communists were taking over the drinking water,” he says with a laugh.
“But he was also a genius at what he did, he was one of the best in his field. He also truly believed that art had the ability to refine the soul.”
Lincoln was one of Fairbanks’ favorite subjects, and probably the subject matter for which Fairbanks is most well-known, Swanson says. But Fairbanks, who was born in Payson and died a decade ago, had many other “favorite subjects,” and is even credited for being the first person to introduce “the nude” in to Utah art, Swanson says.
Fairbanks’ works can be found throughout the world, country, and state of Utah, including several pieces both at the Springville Art Museum and Fairview Museum.
“I knew him fairly well,” Swanson says. “He even let me take his chisel and mallet and work on his work. He gives you his tools and then puts his hands over yours and begins to work as if you aren’t there.”
Swanson, who has been director of the Springville Art Museum for 21 years, was an assistant professor of art history at Auburn University and worked at the National Gallery of Art before coming to Utah- “My wife is a Utah girl. I absolutely love it here, especially at the museum you couldn’t pry me out of there.”
Other talks in the series are:
April 18: “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” featuring Paul Turner, Piute court house in Junction.
April 23: “Famous and Infamous Along Highway 89 as depicted by Hollywood,” Jim D’Arc, Kanab.
April 25; “John D. Lee,” featuring Weber State University Professor Gene Sessions, Panguitch High School.