Lakeland ‘leg lamp’ sculpture creating controversy

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A new sculpture in Polk County has people doing a double-take.

It’s the annual sculpture exhibit in downtown Lakeland and one of those sculptures is getting mixed reviews.

The leg lamp sculpture, called “I’ll Shoot Your Eye Out,” is based on the 1983 movie, “A Christmas Story,” and it certainly is raising a lot of eyebrows.

“Well, you know, for a leg, it’s not bad,” said Glenn Zweygardt, as he stood in front of the sculpture.

The lonely, high-heeled leg, clad in fishnets, has Lakeland divided.

It’s one of ten sculptures sprouting up along Lemon Avenue downtown.

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“Art should move you,” Christine Ehmann, visiting from New York, told News Channel 8.  “Well, it moves me, down.”

When we asked Lisa Baker of Lakeland if she found the sculpture tasteful or tasteless, she said, “I think it’s really cool.  The first thing I thought of was ‘A Christmas Story.’”

Kevin Cook of the City of Lakeland is not at all apologetic about the sculpture.

“It pays homage to a classic Christmas movie,” said Cook.  “The ‘fra gee lay’ that we all know, the leg in the box with a shade.”

We asked Lynne Triebwasser of Lakeland if she found it offensive.  “Not really,” she told us.  “I just don’t find it interesting.”

Ehmans said, “This is something old, old, old, done with.”

We asked Dale Tanner of Lakeland if he thought it objectified women.  Tanner replied, “I don’t see that.”

When asked if she believed it sent the wrong message to kids and that it may be inappropriate, Lenita Giannini of Lakeland, told News Channel 8, “maybe the parents should let them see the movie and see that they’re nothing wrong with it.”

Kevin Cook, the director of communications for the city, said, “If people are offended by a leg, we really apologize.”

When we told Roger Triebwasser of Lakeland that some people thought it’s not art work, he told us, “They couldn’t do it.”

“For me, it’s like a dead-end,” said Ehmann.  “There are some people who say this does not belong on a street to which you say, I don’t think it belongs.”

Most of the people News Channel 8 interviewed on the streets of Lakeland didn’t seem to mind.

On the City of Lakeland’s Facebook page, we found an entirely different story.

“Oh no, that is sick.  If that’s for real, I’m embarrassed to live in Lakeland,” wrote Karen McClure

“Love,” wrote Tonya Marie. “It’s great to see someone showing that art can be fun.  All art doesn’t have to be stuffy.  Have fun with it.”

“I don’t want to see that at Christmas, never mind every day,” Marcia Earp-Lepage posted on the city’s Facebook page.

“Well, it’s obviously going to get people to talk about it,” wrote Tommy Henschel.  “(Lol) It’s great. Controversy creates cash.”

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