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Spectacle spectacular: Students help Lions set sights on new public artwork

A large sculpture of a pair of eyeglasses will be installed in Colvill Park this summer. Red Wing Lions Club commissioned the public artwork in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Lions.

Red Wing Lions Club is planning a "spectacular" event this summer to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Lions Club International.

With the help of local students and other supporters, the Lions are attempting to gather 100,000 pairs of used eyeglasses in conjunction with the unveiling of a new public sculpture in Colvill Park.

A 10-by-10-by 4-foot pair of eyeglasses, the sculpture is aptly named "Spectacles." It was designed with help from local artist Dan Wiemer and is being fabricated at Neufeldt Industrial Services of Red Wing.

This week, Twin Bluff Middle School Student Leadership joined the effort to collect eyeglasses in Red Wing.

After meeting with the city's top recycler, Rubin the Blue Bin, they worked with adviser Kirby Hanson, to distribute collection bags to the school's approximately 650 students. The class that brings in the most glasses will win a pizza party.

Lions clubs throughout Minnesota are helping to assemble the largest ever pile of glasses in Red Wing. At their mid-winter convention in January, clubs of southeastern Minnesota brought in about 13,000 pairs — including clubs in Cannon Falls, Lake City, Mazeppa, Pine Island, Zumbrota, Goodhue, Kenyon, Wanamingo and, of course, Red Wing.

The eyeglasses will be on display at Colvill Park during the sculpture dedication in June, then will be sent for free distribution to people in Third World countries worldwide.

Plans are being made for a "spectacular event" on June 25, according to project chairman Paul Drotos. "Our focus will be on vision and what Lions do," he said.

Helen Keller spoke to the Lions in 1925 asking them to be "Knights of the Blind in the crusade against darkness," he explained. Vision has been a key part of their mission ever since.

At the park there will be informational tables explaining how the glasses are handled and redistributed, and how Lions are celebrating their centennial with legacy projects such as the Red Wing sculpture.

Also featured will be new equipment purchased by Lions for the KidSight USA project, which will be used locally to screen the vision of children ages 6 months to 6 years.

Participants will have an opportunity to win a pair of eyeglasses and an exam that are being donated by Pearle Vision as a grand prize. Pearle Vision also plans to have eye doctors on hand to do vision testing.

Following a short program, a parachute will be lifted and the new sculpture will be unveiled. Entertainment and food also are planned that day.

Communities can help the Lions reach 100,000 pairs of glasses by bringing their used eyewear — without cases — to the park that day, or by dropping them in donation boxes that will be distributed citywide after the Twin Bluff collection drive has ended.

For more information about Red Wing Lions and "Spectacles," contact club President Todd Otteson at tpotteson@hotmail.com or go online to www.e-clubhouse.org/sites/redwing/

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