‘CAN UC my mask’ canned food sculpture temporarily installed in Langsam Library

"CAN UC my mask" canned sculpture.

“CAN UC my mask” canned sculpture. Photo/Melissa Cox Norris

The masked Bearcat is showing school pride while reminding everyone to stay safe by wearing a mask

“CAN UC my mask,” a canned good sculpture currently on display on the fourth floor of the Walter C. Langsam Library, is the creation of students in UC’s Construction Student Association. The students spent the fall semester designing and preparing the sculpture with hopes to participate in Cincinnati CANstruction, an annual event where students and local businesses construct large structures out of cans of food, which are then displayed around Cincinnati before the cans are donated to a local food pantry. Due to the pandemic, the organizers of the 2021 Cincinnati CANstruction moved the event online. Looking for an opportunity to construct their design, and with the desire that their UC-themed sculpture could be seen on campus, the group’s faculty adviser, Mandy Albrecht, assistant dean of academics in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, reached out to UC Libraries to inquire if the Walter C. Langsam Library could play host to their canned sculpture. Of course, the answer was yes.

students constructing canned sculpture

“CAN UC my mask” under construction. Photo/Kaikou Uchiyama

On display now on the fourth floor of the library, “CAN UC my mask,” was assembled by a team of students led by Matthew Adkins, construction management major pursuing his MBA, and Blake Reinstedler, construction management major, and including Phillip Stoll, Blake Brower, Jacob Mitsch, Colby Sipos, Nicholas Bartholomew, Kaikou Uchiyama and Andrew Bush. Inspired by their Bearcat pride, and a desire to spread a message of being safe during the pandemic, the 6.5-foot cubed rendition of the UC Bearcat wearing a mask took 4,700 cans of food to create and 10 hours to construct.

“We really appreciate the opportunity to construct ‘CAN UC my mask’ in Langsam Library and are very grateful to the library for letting us display it in such a prominent location,” said Adkins. “We explored other potential locations on campus, but this one seemed the safest for the cans and social distancing and will allow for the most attention and publicity.”

The canned sculpture will remain in Langsam until mid-April when it will be dismantled and the cans of food donated to the UC Bearcats Pantry. “The messages we are spreading through the donation of canned goods and staying safe from Covid-19 are positive ones creatively expressed through art,” Adkins concluded.

Students from the Construction Student Association pose in front of their canned sculpture

Students from the Construction Student Association pose in front of their canned sculpture. Photo/Kaikou Uchiyama

“This project is always fun because it’s a great learning opportunity for the students, as well as a great way to encourage donations to local food pantries. It’s an especially great way for freshmen and sophomores to get involved in the Construction Student Association and to contribute to their community in a meaningful way,” said Albrecht. “Students who haven’t yet learned about construction estimating, scheduling and logistics can start flexing those muscles by designing, estimating, procuring and building a canned food structure like this.”

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