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LERA Takes Home Cheri C. Melillo Award at Canstruction New York 2020-21!

LERA's entry for this year's Canstruction New York, titled "Take A Stand," was awarded Cheri C. Melillo Award, dedicated after Canstruction Founder, Cheri Melillo, at the 28th installation of the annual charitable design competition.

Canstruction brings teams of architects, engineers, contractors and students together to create giant structures made entirely from unopened cans of food, which are then donated to those in need. Due to the unfortunate circumstances of 2020, the competition this year was virtual, but the donations were made to City Harvest, a local food charity serving families in need.

According to City Harvest, nearly 1.2 million New Yorkers, including one in five children, struggled with food insecurity before COVID-19. Since the start of COVID-19, however, those numbers have worsened: over 1.5 million New Yorkers, including one in four children, face hunger right now. Hunger in New York City, particularly in communities of color, needs our attention during a time where public health remains a pressing matter.

LERA's "Take a Stand" Final Submission Video

At 10 feet tall, “Take a Stand” is constructed from approximately 3,200 cans of tuna fish, and uses a system of leveling boards, wire, and alignment rods to ensure its stability. Inspired by the bronze sculpture “Fearless Girl” by artist Kristen Visbal, which has served as a symbol in New York City for gender equality and female empowerment, the sculpture brings attention to today’s concerns with public health and hunger, and is a symbol for our city’s strength and resiliency. “Brave, proud, and strong” are words that Visbal used to describe the Fearless Girl, and these same words embody the ethos of New Yorkers, especially as we continue to “take a stand” against food insecurity, social inequality, and the novel coronavirus.



Diego Rivera, Kristen Bell

Team Members

Lindsey Judge, Sarabjit Singh, Richard Tran, Elias Matar; Sami Matar; Edward J. Roberts; Stephen Pfund; Monica Svojsik; Kin Hei Lam; Kaitlyn Kliewer; Caroline Bambach; Joshua Antolick; Ava Mennin

Special thanks to the Partners of LERA for their continued support!

Brion van Over, son of Canstruction Founder, Cheri Melillo, announces the winner of the Cheri Melillo Award


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