Thursday, August 8, 2013

Put in the time in hopes for a great return!

Canstruction: one can make a difference, Part 1:
It has been an exciting past six days! I was home in Ohio over the weekend and the first half of the week for a wedding and some much needed family time. I was feeling emotionally and physically drained in returning to Virginia yesterday, but I knew that I needed to get back for a meeting at 3:30pm. I can honestly say now that it was absolutely worth it to go to that meeting and I am so glad that I made the 6 hour drive to Virginia. It was an encouraging and fantastic learning experience! 

The meeting was with Lora J Katz, AIA, an architect and interior designer with Gilliam Katz Architecture & Design  where she has been working tirelessly to bring Canstruction to Roanoke, which will take place October 4-12, 2013. She was willing to meet with myself and the two other interns, Chelsea and Katie, to explain the details of this event and to offer further insight and awareness on the other community development work that she and her partner at the firm are doing in the Roanoke area.   

Canstruction is an international organization as their website explains, "Canstruction is a nonprofit organization that holds annual design and build competitions to construct fantastic, giant sized, structures made entirely out of canned food. In each city after the structures are built and the winners declared the creations go on view to the general public as giant art exhibits. At the close of the competition all of the Cansculptures are dismantled, the food used in the structures is donated to the local food banks for distribution to community emergency feeding programs."

Feeding America Southwest Virginia will be the recipient food bank of the Canstruction in Roanoke and we are so excited to be able to partner in such a great opportunity. Lora explained that the event will have 10 organizations participating as designers and builders, ranging from technology companies, a bank, and schools. It is expected to raise 12,000-15,000 cans which will equate to feeding thousands of people in the southwest Virginia area!  

The sculptures to be built in Roanoke will be displayed at the Taubman Museum of Art and there are strict rules as to how the sculptures are to be constructed. We thought that this was quite interesting, Lora explained that each structure has to be on a 10' x 10' base and up to 8 feet tall and entirely built out of canned foods. They also must be free standing except for small pieces of velcro on the tops of the cans so that the labels will not be defaced as they will be donated at the end of the viewing period. The free standing aspect presents its challenges as Lora informed us of a Canstruction exhibit in Washington D.C. that she helped with. The sculptures had been built and professional pictures of the exhibits had been taken and soon the museum guests were let in for viewing. A little boy ran over to one of the sculptures and pulled a can with the whole sculpture toppling in front of him! She said that it was quite a sight but very unfortunate for the participating organization that built the sculpture. 

Another surprising aspect of the event is the amount of collaboration taking place to put on the event. There of course is Gilliam Katz Architecture & Design donating their time and planning, the Taubman donating the space, there is also a photographer donating his services in addition to one of the participating organizations donating marketing and advertisement. These donations are integral and successfully work to keep the price of the event at a huge low. Lora also emphasized Kroger as a monumental help to the event. They are selling the cans to each organization at a very low price, basically only to recoup costs, and are donating cans to one of the participants, the Roanoke City Schools: Burton Center for Arts and Technology . They are also providing the transportation and moving of the cans throughout the duration of the event, a large expense that is being provided free of cost. 

Lora exclaimed, "It's all about planning! If you get the right people involved and the right people on committees then you'll have a successful event. If you put in a lot of time for an event, you want to get a lot of return." She knows that Canstruction has the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of so many in the Southwest Virginia area and she and others are making sure that it does just that.

So come out and join us for the kickoff of the exhibit on October 4th and for more information and volunteer opportunities at the week long event check out:

Below are just a couple of pictures of sculptures that groups have done around the world! Both pictures are property of Canstruction, Inc.

A swan that won an award for Most Cans used!

A large corn on the cob with a snake and fish in the background!

Look for Part 2 in the coming days! 

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