I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
With winter beckoning, your thoughts are likely focused on gathering with loved ones to recreate the annual eat-until-you-bust feast known as Thanksgiving. Before you plan this year's menu, however, you might want to take a moment to consider those who are less fortunate. Among New York's most beloved events to help you do just that is CANstruction, held downtown in the World Financial Center.
Organized by the Society of Design Administration, CANstruction is a unique competition hosted in cities around the world where professional design and engineering firms compete by building colossal sculptures made entirely of canned food. Their efforts are often amazing feats of skill and engineering: recreated worlds, such as a subway car or a Japanese teahouse, giant whales, sea serpents, and dragons, or replicated art objects, such as Robert Indiana's Love sculpture or Rodin's The Thinker. Each year brings wilder and more whimsical ideas to the fore, further delighting young and old alike who can view the exhibit for merely the cost of a can of food.
Now in its eighteenth year, CANstruction has donated more than 10 million pounds of food to needy families. The donated food from this year's competition will find its way to urban soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and daycare centers for the elderly, all through the efforts of City Harvest.
CANstruction is a wonderful and entertaining event that proves art can be created out of just about anything. It also provides a unique platform for educating children about charitable giving during a time when many of us celebrate our bounty.