At Schaeffer Eye Center, we love Birmingham and all the people who make this such a great place to live. We are always looking for ways to invest in this community, whether it’s a supporting local libraries or revamping the Lorikeet exhibit at the zoo. One of our recent projects is all about giving the people of this city a place to play.
A diamond of Birmingham: Red Mountain Park.
From the mid to late 1800s to 1962 this area was mined for the rich ore found in the hill. It was left abandoned for almost 50 years until the Red Mountain Project saw the potential of this amazing area. Red Mountain Park is now packed with amazing adventure and natural beauty. The park project is ambitious, creating a mecca of activity and sightseeing for anyone who visits.
Tour the historical iron ore mining sites, hike and bike the trails that meander through the park, or bring your dog for some quality fetch in nature. The more adventurous types can explore the Kaul Forest, a treetop challenge course with rope and cable obstacles, take in the scenery from 40 feet above on a series of zip lines, or explore the park on the Schaeffer Segway Tour.
Red Mountain Park has everything a family could want but was missing one thing – art.
Bringing Community Art to the Park
Art brings people together, and we thought this project could raise the level of sophistication without interfering with the park space’s natural beauty. We thought about a project we did years ago for the Cahaba River cleanup and the billboard we created. A giant pair of glasses were crafted from the garbage pulled from the river like a washing machine or a bicycle.
Drawing on that experience we endeavored a new project with MESH Collective Art. Teaming up with metal masterminds Heather Spencer Holmes and Forrest Milsap, we incorporated the mining history of the area with a little Schaeffer Eye Center flair – giant steampunk goggles. One side is a homage to the old safety goggles that miners would wear, while the other side pays tribute to optometrists glasses.
Each element within this piece weaves whimsy and history into a piece of art that will stay at the park forever. The head strap is made out of miner’s cable as a nod to the park’s past.
Bringing the Sculpture into Red Mountain
Installing this beautiful piece of art was another feat of engineering and teamwork. First, concrete needed to be laid for the glasses to sit upon. CraneWorks came in to mastermind the base and to facilitate the installation, ultimately bringing in the eyewear with their crane.
The Schaeffer Spectacles now sit comfortably atop Red Mountain. They bring value to this park by bringing together history and the future in an impressive piece of sculpture. Schaeffer Eye Center is proud to be a part of Red Mountain Park that will give back to Birmingham for many generations to come.
Another Iconic Billboard in Birmingham
With a nod to our previous billboard made from the trash of the Cahaba cleanup, we set out to bring attention this new project. In the style of the completed piece of interactive artwork we unveiled a billboard on the Red Mountain Expressway. Hopefully, this will encourage individuals and families from all over Birmingham to discover the park. If you’d like to get involved in Red Mountain Park as a volunteer or to make a donation, please click here.
“Art is not an event, it’s a process.” – Dr Jack Schaeffer
See an in-depth look at the Schaeffer Spectacles from start to finish in this video.