By Natalie Bailey
This month, nine local teams of architects, engineers, construction companies and other organizations will construct massive holiday-themed art sculptures made of canned food items—all to help fight hunger in the region.
For the third year, Messer Construction Co. is presenting the “Holiday Canstruction” art exhibition, which will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. The sculptures will be on display Nov. 21–Dec. 3 at the Knoxville Convention Center. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
The art sculptures will be judged by a panel of celebrity judges and evaluated in several categories, including jurors’ favorite, structural ingenuity, best use of labels and best meal.
The “People’s Choice” award will be selected by the public via online voting Nov. 21–30 at HolidayCanstruction.com and the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
“Kids’ Choice” award will be selected by voters 17-years-old and under who complete paper ballots during the hospital’s Fantasy of Trees event. Award winners will be announced at a reception on Dec. 1.
On Nov. 20, the teams will gather at the for an eight-hour build of their holiday-themed sculptures. Each Canstruction sculpture typically uses between 1,500 and 5,500 canned food items, with only one-quarter-inch plywood or Plexiglas between the rows of cans and one-quarter-inch cardboard tubing for support.
The color of the sculptures is determined by the colors of the cans and labels.
After the exhibition, the sculptures will be dismantled and the canned foods donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. Last year’s event contributed 19,000 items to Second Harvest, and organizers expect the donation to surpass that mark this year.
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee targets the working poor – those who are working but might not receive benefits or earn high wages from their work. A Gallup poll states that one in five Americans are struggling to feed themselves or their families. In East Tennessee, 200,000 people fall within the income level to be at-risk of going hungry.
The Holiday Canstruction art exhibition will be open to the public Nov. 21–Dec. 1 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. with expanded hours during East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s Fantasy of Trees event, Nov. 25–29.