Forrest Scene

Creating art from cans of food: "Canstruction" construction May 31 at Mulvane Art Museum

Teams of Kansas architects, engineers and contractors will show off their can-do spirit as they are challenged to create a variety of structures using cans of food and non-perishable food items from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 31 at the Mulvane Art Museum on the Washburn University camps.  The “Canstruction” creation will be displayed at the Mulvane through July 27.

An opening reception will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 6 at the Mulvane Art Museum. Awards will be announced at 6 p.m. The reception will also be the kick-off for the Mulvane’s Annual Art Fair set for June 7 and 8 on the Washburn campus.

When the exhibit closes, the cans are donated to Harvesters - The Community Food Network. “Canstruction” is an international program of the Society of Design Administration.

Teams participating include Treanor Architects, PA; HTK Architects; Tevis Architects; Bartlett & West Engineers; Architect One, PA; Schwerdt Design Group, Inc., all of Topeka; and the American Institute of Architecture Student Chapter of Kansas State University.

The structures at the Mulvane will be judged in the categories of Best Meal, Structural Integrity, Best Use of Labels, Jurors’ Favorite and Honorable Mention. Once the exhibit is installed, the public will have the opportunity to vote online for the People’s Choice Award. Each vote will include a $1 donation to Harvesters. Harvesters can provide five meals with for every $1 donated. The winning structures will be entered into a national competition in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Society of Design Administration.

“We are excited to be holding our first Canstruction event in Topeka and salute the Mulvane Art Museum and the participating teams for partnering with us to raise the community’s awareness about the hunger issue,” said Valerie Nicholson-Watson, president and CEO of Harvesters. “Canstruction is one of our most fun events, and we hope that everyone will visit the museum and see these amazing structures.”    

Sponsors of the exhibition include Hy-Vee, Inc.; Advisors Excel; and Knox Signs & Graphics, all of Topeka. Sponsorships are still available. For more information, call Jannett Wiens at 785-861-7711.


  • The Mulvane is located on the campus of Washburn University, at 17th and Jewell Streets. 
  • Free parking is available directly to the west of the museum.
  • The Mulvane Art Museum, ArtLab and gift shop are open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.
  • The museum is closed major holidays. For information, call 785.670.1124 or go to

About Harvesters: The Community Food Network. Harvesters was Feeding America’s 2011 Food Bank of the Year. Serving a 26-county area of northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas, Harvesters provides food and related household products to more than 620 not-for-profit agencies such as emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and children’s homes. The network provides food assistance to approximately 66,000 different people each week. Harvesters, which was founded in 1979, is a certified member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks serving all 50 states. For more information, visit

About Canstruction: Canstruction ® was founded in 1992 by the Society of Design Administration, an affiliate organization of the American Institute of Architects. The organization’s primary goal is to “construct” a world without hunger. Canstruction events are held in more than 100 cities across North America.


Dena Anson, university relations, 785.670.1711