An inquisitive horse accepting an apple from a young girl greeted visitors at the Firebird Bronze Foundry in Oregon during an UP for Arts trip earlier this year.
Noted artist John Jewell joined UP for Arts members along with University Place Mayor Pro Tem Caroline Belleci, University Place Councilwoman Denise McCluskey and Catherine Hagen (daughter of Mary and Charles Curran) at the foundry to view the progress on “Forever Friends,” a life-size sculpture celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Curran Apple Orchard Park in University Place.
An 8-foot long clay horse greeted the visitors, stretching out his neck, encouraged by a young girl offering him a delectable apple. Jewell’s incredible attention to detail was evident in the inquisitive eyes of the horse and detailed anatomy as well as the joy-filled offering of the young girl. Barely choking back tears, Hagen remarked, “it looks just like Brewster.”
“Forever Friends” is based upon a real horse named Brewster who lived in the Curran Apple Orchard. Brewster, a great grandson of racing legend Man o’ War, was raised by Charles Curran who was interested in racing. Right before his first race, Brewster came down with a serious respiratory virus and wasn’t expected to live. The Currans couldn’t bear to put him down so they brought him home to the orchard and nursed Brewster back to health. Although Brewster’s racing career was over, he lived to be 34 years old and soon became a beloved community member and favorite of people who visited the orchard.
UP for Arts commissioned the “Forever Friends” sculpture in honor of the orchard’s 25th anniversary and selected noted local sculptor John Jewell to create the artwork.
“Brewster is a symbol of our community’s rural, agricultural history,” said UP for Arts member Bunny Nance. “The sculpture symbolizes a connection between our past and our future. The young girl (modeled by Jewell’s granddaughter) personifies the orchard’s role in developing friendships along with strengthening community ties through the various activities that the orchard continues to promote.”
To date, UP for Arts has raised more than $64,000 of the $135,600 goal to bring Forever Friends to the Curran Apple Orchard Park. The first down payment resulted in a life-size clay sculpture, which exceeded the group’s expectations.
The next step of the process is to dismantle the horse and girl into several pieces to create molds in which the bronze can be poured. However, UP for Arts must raise an additional $69,000 before the foundry process can begin. Additional funds are also needed to cover transportation and installation expenses.
Besides submitting numerous grant applications and seeking in-kind contributions, UP for Arts is also sponsoring a “Chili Cook Off” between the UP Police and West Pierce Fire and Rescue on Thursday, Aug. 22, along with a concert featuring the “Neon Mustangs” at the Curran Orchard. Tickets for the event are available online at www.upforarts.org or at the event.
Other fundraising events include the second annual Holiday Gala and Auction slated for Friday, Dec. 13, in the UP Civic/Library Atrium.
After completion, the “Forever Friends” sculpture will be in a highly visible location within the Curran Apple Orchard Park near Grandview Drive. “This project is going to happen,” said Nance. “Community members have an opportunity to preserve a part of our history.
Individual contributions can make a big difference, Nance said. “Every time you go by the orchard or bring family and friends to visit, you can say that YOU helped to make “Forever Friends” happen.”
Contributions of any amount are greatly appreciated by sending donations to UP for Arts, PO Box 65145, UP or making donations online at www.upforarts.org.