May 19, 2011


“It starts with one can. To feed the hungry. To Lift the spirit. To change the world”. canstruction

While on my way to an appointment at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart this week, I passed through an uplifting Canstruction sculpture exhibit. Canstruction is a nonprofit organization that holds annual design-build competitions to construct structures made entirely out of canned food. At the close of the competitions, all the food used to create these super sized structures is donated to local food banks for distribution to community emergency feeding programs.

This is about Art. It’s about creativity and design. But it’s bigger than that. This process is a catalyst to engage and inspire the community to work together for the greater good. In 2010, Canstruction raised over 2 million pounds of  food which was donated to local food banks, providing 1.5 million meals. Now, that’s the power of design making a tangible difference.

I was moved by this exhibit for a number of reasons. It was accessible in its approach. I could envision school children and science olympiad students participating right along with the invited Architects and Designers. This was an artful expression which was challenging due to the medium. Some might be well versed in the properties of building with blocks; the expected and dependable shapes, and corresponding weights, but canned goods offer unique issues. For example the color of the label and its placement in the design, is key for making the sculptures above.

I embrace artful expression that has the ability to empower community to create change.

Image 1,  author, Images 2,3 Canstruction
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