New to the Columbus Arts Festival: Canstruction

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

When you think "art," you probably visualize a painting or drawing. But canned goods? National charity Canstruction, founded in 1992, expands our definition to include that improbable category. Local artists, architects and designers replace the tools of their trades with canned goods as they sculpt structures of all shapes and invariably big sizes. Although a Canstruction event has been held in Columbus before (COSI hosted one in 2009), this year marks the first time Columbus Arts Festival (June 6 to 8) will feature a Canstruction exhibition.

"These structures go on display as an art installation that brings awareness to hunger and the need for hunger relief in the community," says Canstruction Columbus chairperson Lisa Ringer. "At the end of the event, all canned goods are donated to Mid-Ohio Foodbank."

For about 12 hours, two teams will have a 15-foot-tall, -wide and -long space in which to create. Ben Niebauer of Team DesignGroup + Gilbane plans to use every bit of his team's space. "Kroger-who will be donating all of the canned goods used in the sculptures-has put no limit on the quantity of materials that each team can use," Niebauer says. Ringer adds, "Some builds can reach an astounding size." Equally astounding is the quantity of food donated in the charity's 22-year existence: 25 million pounds, according to Canstruction's Robin Pagliarulo.