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New Wreaths For Art Institute Lions

By Anna Deem in News on Nov 20, 2010 8:00PM

Photo by: rappduane
University of Illinois at Chicago professors and local designers, Stephanie and Bruce Tharp, have created a pair of wreaths that will decorate the necks of the famous Art Institute of Chicago lions on November 26. In place of the traditional green wreaths the lions usually wear for the holiday season, the Tharp's have built two massive structures modeled after North American cranberry wreaths, which contain solar-powered lights that will make each wreath glow at night. Each wreath is constructed of 2,011 separate spheres, with each sphere containing a wish for 2011 from a Chicago-area child, the Tharp's own nod to Buddhist and Taoist wishing trees.

"It's been a fun project," said Stephanie Tharp to the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's been an honor to work on the project." Her husband agreed with her. "We punched it up a little, but it reads as Christmas-y," Bruce Tharp said. To see if their new creations could withstand the harsh Chicago winter, the Tharp's hung each wreath off their South Loop balcony to see how they handled the temperature drop and they also put smaller samples in their freezer.

Chai Lee, a museum spokesman, said to the Sun-Times that the less traditional aluminum wreaths designed by Yves Behar received a warm welcome last year. "Most people really loved the reinterpretation of a new tradition," he said. "We're taking it one step farther than last year."