‘Forever Friends’ UP for Arts launches campaign to celebrate Curran Apple Orchard’s 25th anniversary

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Artist John Jewell with a sketch of the horse sculpture that he will create. Photo courtesy of UP for Arts

In honor of the 25th anniversary of Charles and Mary Curran’s legacy in creating an apple orchard park for University Place, UP for Arts is launching a campaign to obtain a life-size bronze horse sculpture, according to UP for Arts President Debbie Scoles.

The artwork, entitled “Forever Friends,” will feature a young girl offering an apple to a horse, modeled after the Curran’s horse Brewster. UP for Arts launched the $180,000 fundraising campaign earlier this fall at the annual Curran Apple Orchard Cider Squeeze. After the funds are raised, the sculpture will be located within the Curran Apple Orchard Park.

The Currans and their beloved horses Brewster and Christopher. Photo courtesy of UP for Arts

Acclaimed local artist John Jewell will create the sculpture. Several of Jewell’s sculptures are located throughout the region including Sharing in Cirque Park; the Fireman in front of the West Pierce Fire and Rescue Headquarters in UP; Chloe Clark in Dupont; Meriwether Lewis and Seaman at JBLM; and Balancing the Books at the Pierce County Library Key Center branch.

Curran Apple Orchard Park is a beloved community landmark in University Place, attracting thousands of people each year to the Cider Squeeze, summer concerts and the Adopt-A-Tree program. Yet this unique park also serves as a poignant reminder of our community’s past.

During the early 1950s, Charles and Mary Curran purchased the 7.33-acre parcel to build a home for their family along with planting an extensive apple orchard. The orchard soon became a favorite community gathering place where people could buy apples and even feed them to the Currans’ horses.

When development threatened the orchard in the early 1990s, community members obtained a grant to preserve the land forever as a park. Next year, the Orchard will celebrate its 25th anniversary as a park….and to celebrate that milestone, UP for Arts is launching an ambitious campaign to reconnect University Place residents with their past.

UP for Arts decided on the project after learning about a very special horse named Brewster. The Currans had several horses, including a mare called Back Interest whom they received as a gift from their friend Frank Brewster. Since the mare was the granddaughter of Man o’ War (arguably the greatest race horse that ever lived), Mr. Curran decided to breed her with the hopes of getting a racehorse of his own. Soon afterwards, Brewster (named after Mr. Curran’s friend) was born. Two years later, another colt named Christopher was born.

Mr. Curran decided to race Brewster at the Yakima Race Track. Right before his first race, Brewster developed a virus and was sent to the WSU Veterinary School. He barely ate and was sent home, not expected to live, but Mr. Curran loved him and hand fed him until he recovered! Although the racing plans were dropped, the Currans continued to love their horses, both of whom lived until the ripe old age of 34 and 32.

“Many people have such fond memories of feeding apples to the horses,” said Scoles. “We thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate the orchard’s 25th anniversary by bringing back Brewster in the form of a life-size bronze statue.”

All donations, great and small, are greatly appreciated, Scoles said.

For more information or to donate online, please visit www.upforarts.org or mail checks to:

UP for Arts, PO Box 65145, University Place, WA 98464.

UP for Arts is a 501c3 tax exempt nonprofit volunteer organization.

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