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Construction with cans

State Museum art event also a fundraiser for local food pantry

Angry Birds were created out of cans at last year's Canstruction event.

Angry Birds were created out of cans at last year's Canstruction event. Submitted Photo

— Once a year, architects, engineers and students across the country forgo the usual building materials to create structures out of cans. From April 5 to 26, the New York State Museum will house its own floor of can sculptures for the Capital District’s second Canstruction event.

Canstruction, a not for profit organization committed to ending hunger, challenges designers to take canned food and make a structural masterpiece. The public can see every sculpture in exchange for a canned item. Last year was the first locally held event but it’s been taking place in cities like New York City and Boston since 1992.

“We were shocked in a good way at the response and how well it did,” said Kira Pogge, media and communications coordinator for EYP Architecture and Engineering.

Architects from EYP were the driving force behind bringing Canstruction to Albany. Kelly Donahue, a board member, said EYP was inspired by feedback from teams who had participated in other locations.

“Hearing from our teammates … what a rewarding process this is to create these really challenging structures that are so unique and raise design visibility to the community and put a spotlight on hunger seemed like a really good opportunity to bring something like that to the Capital Region,” said Donahue.

When the displays are dismantled, the cans are donated to the Capital Region Food Pantry, along with canned items the public brings along to vote for their favorite sculpture.

Last year’s event featured nine teams, lasted one week and resulted in a 43,000-can donation. This year, it’s grown to 13 teams and will run for two weeks. The theme is “Zoo Can Do It” so canned items donated by Price Chopper will be morphed into animals.

Ryan-Biggs Associates will be building a penguin display modeled after the movie “Happy Feet.” It will require 2,800 cans and eight people to complete.

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