Canstruction comes to Mulvane Art Museum

The Canstruction event was hosted at the Mulvane Art Museum on the Washburn University campus May 31. There were five teams participating by building structures from ordinary cans of food. The team members were all employees of the companies that chose to participate in this experience. There are several architectural firms that participated and also one engineering company. Canstruction was jointly sponsored by the Mulvane Art Museum and Harvesters Community Food Network.

There was no limit to the number of members that a team could have for this occasion. The only rule was that they were only allowed to have five team members out on the floor building at any one time. This rule was put in place for crowd control reasons because of the small amount of space that was available for the event. The public was also able to stand in the lobby of the Mulvane Art Museum and watch the structures being built.

“Teams were responsible for fundraising and raising money to purchase the cans of food to build their structures or purchasing the cans of food themselves,” said Sarah Biles, communications manager for Harvesters Community Food Network. “U.S. Foods helped to provide some of the cans or covered the cost of purchasing some of the cans.”

The teams were able to start constructing the structures Saturday at 8 a.m. They had to have the structures completed by 8 p.m. the same night. The structures will be judged and the winners will be announced at the CAN OPENER event at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 6 at the Mulvane Art Museum. There will be awards given based on such criteria as aesthetic appeal and the nutritional content of the cans of food used to build the structure. Another award that will be given later on once the exhibit will no longer be displayed is the People’s Choice Award.

A ballot box will be placed at the front desk of the Mulvane Art Museum and visitors will be able to buy a ballot for $1 and vote for their favorite structure. The structures will be on display in the Mulvane Art Museum for the public to view from June 3 through July 26. There will also be free admission to view the exhibits. The hours for the Mulvane Art Museum are: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

“Harvesters likes to do an event like this for a couple of different reasons,” said Biles. “It allows them to have food out on display in the community and raise awareness about the issue of hunger and it also serves as a food drive for them since all of the cans of food that are used in the event are donated to Harvesters once the exhibit is closed and the structures are taken down.

This was the first time that this event has been held in Topeka. Harvesters Community Food Network hopes to hold this event annually in Topeka in the future. Canstruction has been held in the past in Kansas City. The event celebrated its 12th year in February of being held there. It has been held in several locations, such as Historic Union Station and Crown Center.

“All of the cans will go to hungry people in the Topeka area,” said Biles. “We are excited to bring this event to Topeka and it is very fun and I think all of the teams are having fun as well.”