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Art Institute Lions To Get Solar-Powered Wreaths

Art Institute Lion

One of the lions that stands guard at the Art Institute of Chicago. (Credit: CBS)

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Cranberry- and Buddhist-, Taoist-inspired holiday decor will glow at night.

CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM/AP) - The two bronze lions standing guard outside the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Ave. will soon be wearing holiday wreaths again, but this year’s wreaths will be a bit different.

For starters, they will glow at night, and they will be solar-powered.

Their designers, the husband & wife firm of Stephanie and Bruce Tharp, have given them a different look, too. They have combined the look of traditional North American cranberry wreaths with the spirit of Buddhist and Taoist wishing trees.

The wreaths will be composed of a total of 2,011 spheres in various shades of red. And inside each sphere will be “a wish for the world in 2011″ written by Chicago-area schoolchildren.

The wreaths will be placed on the lions the day after Thanksgiving.

In case you’re wondering, the lions date from 1893, when the Art Institute first opened in its current location. They were a gift from Mrs. Henry Field, who also donated a valuable collection of oil paintings to honor her late husband.

Sculptor Edward Kemeys created the lions, which are named for their poses — the north lion is “on the prowl,” while the south lion “stands in an attitude of defiance,” according to the Art Institute.

The lions have been adorned with wreaths around the holidays for many years, and have worn Bears and Blackhawks helmets in years when those teams have headed to the Super Bowl and Stanley Cup Finals, respectively.

The lions even have their own Twitter page.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)