Architects and builders are creating sculptures out of canned food at Stanley Marketplace

And once the cans come down, We Don’t Waste will deliver the food to the needy
3 min. read
Aileen Tang and Luke Buranen build a big blue bear during We Don’t Waste’s “Can-struction” show at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Updated, with pictures!

Architects and builders will be playing with food at Stanley Marketplace this week.

It's for a good cause. Teams of architecture and construction firm employees are creating winter-themed sculptures out of canned food in a fund- and awareness-raising event for the Denver-based food recovery nonprofit We Don't Waste. When the sculptures come down, We Don't Waste will deliver the food to pantries, soup kitchens, senior and day care centers and other sites, adding to the more than 100 million servings of food it has distributed in the Denver metro area over the last decade.  We Don't Waste collects food from restaurants, caterers, hotels, wholesalers and other donors and delivers it to the hungry.

"It's really a way for us to become more visible in the community and bring visibility to the problem of food insecurity and food waste," We Don't Waste founder and executive director Arlan Preblud said of the Stanley Marketplace event.

Organizers expect a total 20,000 cans will be used in the sculptures, each of which can be up to 8 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8 feet high and must be made entirely of cans of food. No glue or other permanent fixers are allowed, but tape, fishing line, Velcro and rubber bands are permitted.

“Chili” Willy the Penguin, who made out of canned chili supplies, was just born at "can-struction," We Don't Waste's art show at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
It's "can-struction," put on by We Don't Waste at Aurora's Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The teams from Naos Design Group, Box Studios, MDP Engineering Group, Kephart, Wilson & Company, Cuningham Group Architecture, Anchor Engineering, NV5,  HDR, Inc., ZGF Architects and  Martin/Martin supply their own cans.

We Don't Waste's Preblud said the teams have been putting their technology and expertise into planning the sculptures.

"It's not just taking 20 cans and putting them together," he said. "Some of the designs are pretty ingenious."

The teams have 12 hours on Friday to erect their winter-themed sculptures. The sculptures will stay up through Feb. 2. While "Canstruction Colorado: A Winter WonderCAN" is on display, visitors to Stanley Marketplace at 2501 Dallas St. in Aurora will get a chance to vote for their favorite installation by donating $1 per vote to We Don't Waste. In addition to the people's choice award determined by that public vote, judges will award prizes for best meal, best use of labels, structural ingenuity and most cans.

Aileen Tang (left to right), Luke Buranen and Brian Young build a big blue bear during We Don't Waste's "Can-struction" show at Stanley Marketplace. Nov. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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