November 13, 2014

Nov. 13, 2014

Contact: Natalie Lester
Moxley Carmichael


Messer Construction Co. presents second annual event benefiting Second Harvest

Seven local teams of architects, engineers, construction companies and other organizations will come together to construct massive holiday-themed art sculptures made of canned food items – all to help fight hunger in East Tennessee.

Messer Construction Co. is again presenting Knoxville’s second annual “Holiday Canstruction” art exhibition, which will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. The sculptures will be on display Nov. 22-Dec. 2 at the Knoxville Convention Center. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

“We are so excited to present this festive event for the second year in Knoxville and support a great cause over the holidays,” said Randy Fields, Messer business development executive and Holiday Canstruction event chair. “At Messer, we believe in ‘building’ the communities in which we live and work, so Holiday Canstruction is a perfect way for us to invest in East Tennessee by helping fight hunger in our community.”

The art sculptures will be judged by a panel of celebrity judges and evaluated in several categories, including jurors’ favorite, structural ingenuity, best use of labels and best meal. The “People’s Choice” award will be selected via the Knoxville Canstruction’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/knoxcan. New this year, the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital “Kids’ Choice” award will be selected by kids 17-years-old and under who complete paper ballots during the hospital’s Fantasy of Trees event. Award winners will be announced at the close of the exhibition on Dec. 2.

“Messer has participated in many Canstruction events over the years,” Fields added. “It’s a great opportunity to have a positive impact in raising awareness for hunger relief and highlighting the talents of the local architecture, engineering and construction industry. It’s such a fun and heartwarming experience for everyone involved, and we’re happy to present this event in Knoxville again this year.”

Participating teams include: Messer and CH2M HILL architects; the University of Tennessee Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Studio Four Design, CBi and Merit Construction; Realty Trust Group, Design Innovation Architects, DMG Bluegill and Hedstrom Design; Cope Associates Inc. Architecture, Management Solutions LLC and the National Association of Women in Construction; Gresham, Smith and Partners and Bhate Geosciences; and Johnson Architecture, Partners Development and Moxley Carmichael.

On Nov. 21, the teams will gather at the Knoxville Convention Center for a 12-hour build of their holiday-themed sculptures. Each Canstruction sculpture typically uses between 900 and 3,500 canned food items, with only one-quarter-inch plywood or Plexiglas between the rows of cans and one-quarter-inch cardboard tubing for support. The color of the structures is determined by the colors of the cans and labels.

After the exhibition, the sculptures will be dismantled and the canned foods donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. Last year’s event contributed 10,000 items to Second Harvest, and event planners expect the donation to surpass that mark this year.

“We’re so thankful to Messer for sponsoring this event during the holidays, when our need is so great,” said Elaine Streno, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, which serves 18 counties. “Many families are struggling to make the season special for their loved ones while still putting food on the table. Building the sculptures is a great team-building exercise for local companies to get in the holiday spirit and also help feed the hungry.”

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee targets the working poor – those who are working but might not receive benefits or earn high wages from their work. A Gallup poll states that one in five Americans are struggling to feed themselves or their families. In East Tennessee, 200,000 people fall within the income level to be at-risk of going hungry.

The Holiday Canstruction art exhibition will be open to the public Nov. 22-Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with expanded and hours during East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s Fantasy of Trees event, Nov. 26-30. The complete list of hours includes:

  • Nov. 22-24: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Nov. 25: 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Nov. 26: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving Day): 3 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • Nov. 28-29: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Nov. 30: noon-6 p.m.
  • Dec. 1-2: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/knoxcan.

About Messer Construction Co.

Messer Construction Co. is a construction manager and general contractor providing leadership for complex commercial building projects. An employee-owned company, Messer builds better lives for its customers, communities and each other, and delivers value through quality construction and client experiences. Founded in 1932, Messer’s footprint has grown to nine regional offices located across the Midwest and Southeast. The company is consistently ranked among the country’s 100 largest contractors by Engineering News-Record, and in fiscal 2013, Messer put in place more than $830 million in commercial construction. Messer now stands as one of the nation’s leading health care and higher education builders, and also boasts extensive, award-winning work in the life sciences and industrial market segments. Messer employees live where they work, resulting in the company’s sustained commitment to building better communities. That commitment has remained paramount throughout Messer’s growth, and it is achieved annually through the company’s own foundation and through the time, service and dollars invested by its employee-owners in community organizations and causes.