I mentioned previously that the Dallas Arboretum is one of my favorite places in the city.
Another favorite is NorthPark Center.
I feel a little guilty admitting that a shopping mall holds such a spot of honor, but it is so much more than a place to shop.
For me, it holds so many memories. Good memories.
It is a place that my mother and I giggled like school girls.
It is where I would meet my sister when she was a buyer for Neiman Marcus.
It is where I spent hours working a phone bank to raise funds and sell season tickets for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
It is where I, and so many others, picked up packets for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
It is where I pushed a stroller in an attempt to entertain my young son, and assure myself there were people in the world taller than 3 feet with real vocabularies.
It is where that same son first sat on Santa's knee.
It is where I will go in a few weeks and still see the timeless holiday decorations that once filled his eyes with amazement and wonder.
It is a place filled not only with stores, but also wonderful artwork, landscaped gardens and inspiration in many forms.
It is so much more than a shopping mall.
NorthPark constantly gives back to the community, hosting various fundraisers and exhibits throughout the year.
I just happened to be there recently and observe Canstruction, the most unique food drive in the world.
Canstruction is an annual competition of giant structures built completely with canned food. Competing teams are led by architects and engineers. Competitions are held throughout the country. This local competition is organized by the Society for Design Administration, working in tandem with the American Institute of Architects.
This was the 14th annual local competition and featured 23 structures.
Don't Let Hunger Drag-on by Corgan Associates, Inc.
Approximately 6,000 cans
Some sculptures incorporated bags of beans or packets of soup mix for just the right texture or color.
We Can Turn Hunger Around by Perkins + Will
Approximately 2025 cans
Close up of turntable. The black color was achieved with plastic lids.
I-CAN-dy by FKP Architects
Approxiimately 3225 cans
Pairing Up to End Hunger by Alliance Architects
Approximately 1182 cans
Due to strong sunlight, I was unable to take a good photograph of the opposite side of the ark. That side featured pairs of small plastic animals marching up the plank of the ark.
I was able to capture a photograph of the cute couple at the ark's bow!
Souper Bowl by HDR Architects
Approxiimately 5860 cans
A most appropriate sculpture, since the metroplex will be hosting the NFL Super Bowl in January 2011.
Notice it is resting on green turf to resemble a football field.
You can also, just barely, see a spoon handle emerging from the bowl on the opposite side.
Extinguish Hunger by VAI Architects
Approximately 2120 cans
Blowing Away Hunger by Paige-Southerland-Paige
Approximately 4020 cans
Following the competition and exhibit, all food is donated to the North Texas Food Bank.
What was a delightful exhibit and feast for the eyes of many, will become desperately needed nourishment for many bodies.
As I looked at the vast amount of food, I was reminded how very blessed I am.
While my life is not perfect, and some days are difficult, I have never known hunger.
I pray that someday that can be true for all.
Until then, I am thankful for non-profits such as Canstruction, all the teams of architects and engineers that contributed their time and talent, and a shopping mall that is a favorite spot for more reasons than shopping.