The 20,000 cans of food used to create the sculptures at Stanley Marketplace will be donated to the Denver-based nonprofit We Don’t Waste.

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There’s a very important canstruction project going on in Aurora—and no, that’s not a typo. Back in November, area architecture and engineering firms competed in Canstruction Colorado: A Winter WonderCAN at Stanley Marketplace, taking 20,000 cans of food and transforming them into giant, sculptural works of art.

Believe it or not, Canstruction is an actual thing and not just a clever play on words. The Canstruction charity has donated millions of cans of food to food banks and shelters, but not until after they’ve been used as “bricks” to create stunning sculptures at competitions held all over the world. A Winter WonderCAN is the organization’s first event in Colorado.

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A massive Chili Willy the Penguin (yes, he’s built out of chili cans), a bomb cyclone, and an igloo— among other can-tastic creations—are currently on display at the Stanley (through February 3, 2020). Competitors donated the cans and We Don’t Waste, a Denver-based food recovery nonprofit, will distribute them to local shelters and food pantries when the sculptures come down.

“It’s about raising literal donations of food, but also about raising awareness so people know what We Don’t Waste does year-round,” says Bryant Palmer, a representative for Stanley Marketplace. “Every sculpture has a placard next to it with facts about hunger, so hopefully people who look at all the sculptures will take a moment to read that information, become more aware, and do their part to make a difference.”

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Chili Willy the Penguin. Photo by Allyson Reedy

The Winter WonderCAN rules: tape, fishing line, Velcro, and rubber bands were in; glue and any other permanent affixation were out. The sculptures had to be winter themed, must have been completed within 12 hours, and couldn’t exceed eight-feet in width, length, or height.

Winners for various categories will be chosen by a panel of experts, but the most important award will be the People’s Choice; you can vote for your favorite creation by donating $1 per vote to We Don’t Waste’s website, or in person at Stanley Marketplace.

Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St. Aurora

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