The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

“Red Forest” sculpture officially unveiled on WSU campus

WSU community members gathered to hear from multiple speakers and see the new sculpture
WSU President Kirk Schulz wraps up the ceremony in front of the newly unveiled statue

A large crowd gathered Friday for the unveiling of a new sculpture near the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the Paul G. Allen School for Global Health. 

Students, faculty, alumni, friends and supporters huddled into two canopies while waiting for the unveiling, as the sculpture was hidden behind curtains. 

The large horse sculpture, “Red Forest”, created by sculptor Deborah Butterfield, was gifted to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, by WSU alumnus Howard Wright, now the chair and founder of Seattle Hospitality Group. The sculpture stands at nearly 8 feet tall, and depicts a unique driftwood skeletal horse casted in bronze with a patina finish.

Trevor Bond, chair of the campus art committee and director of David G. Pollart Center for Arts and Humanities, emceed the ceremony and began the event by welcoming Zoe Higheagle Strong, vice provost of Native American relations and programs, to read the land acknowledgment. 

Bond then gave some background about Butterfield’s work and career. She typically uses mixed metals and tree branches to sculpt horses or mares, and most recently has transitioned her work to specializing in bronze structures in relation with the Walla Walla Foundry, he said. 

The location of the sculpture is also significant, Bond said. Usually the campus art committee places art in the core of campus so everyone has equal opportunity to see the art, however art can have a powerful impact in unexpected locations, in this case, near the veterinary medicine hospital.

“I thought of future visitors to the large and small animal clinics nearby that would be able to see this artwork and be inspired or find comfort as they care for aging or ill pets,” Bond said. 

Wright knew that he wanted to transfer this sculpture to WSU in honor of her, and the great relationship she had with Dr. Bustad, he said. 

“When I was growing up she was a professional horse-woman and she used Dr. Bustad and the veterinary school for a lot of her work, a lot of her consultants and a lot of trailer transfers back and forth,” Wright said. “So I’m just delighted to have this opportunity to donate it to the school in her name and her honor, and it’ll be a great living legacy”

Wright also has a large admiration and fondness for the Allen School of Global Health, aiding the choice of this specific location, he said. 

Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton spoke next. One of her priorities as chancellor is to boost the role that art plays on the Pullman campus and greater community, she said.

“The three pillars of sustainability are environmental, social and economic, and one element that overlaps all of these three is the arts,” Chilton said. 

Wright, his wife Kate Janeway and Chilton then moved the curtains surrounding the sculpture, officially unveiling “Red Forest”. WSU President Kirk Schulz closed the ceremony by giving his final remarks.

“I just think this is a great addition to our campus as people come and visit the best school, and [visit] the Allen School for Global Health,” Schulz said. “They’re going to want to know more about it and want to know more about the artists, and it says something about WSU, and that’s a lasting impact.”

Kelly Weiber, senior risk and crisis communication major, and her partner attended the unveiling event. She enjoys walking around campus and seeing the different pieces of art, and reading the dedication for each piece, she said. 

Wright said the event went great and he could not have been more thrilled with the turnout of people attending the event.

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