For years, I've repurposed old, metal lunchboxes. A Rambo lunchbox became a lunchbox dedicated to Great Women of Literature. Another honored Great Writers of the South. More recently, I've dedicated a lunchbox to The Donner Party. For a long time, though, I've had it in my head to create the ultimate Superhero Lunchbox...not a lunchbox featuring Batman or Wonder Woman, but a box honoring my real-life heroes.

I posed this challenge to a wide circle of friends: get your hands on a metal lunchbox, and put some thought into who or what your heroes are, and why. And then get to work making the Superhero Lunchbox of your dreams.

This online exhibit is the result of that challenge. I hope visitors to this site will find it fun and interesting, and maybe even inspiring. Lunchboxes are such useful things, and so many of us have fond memories of toting tuna sandwiches to school in our Partridge Family or Six Million Dollar Man lunchboxes. There seems to me to be no reason for us to outgrow this tradition of toting around our meals in metal boxes that say something about who we are, what we like, and what our values are. I know I've never outgrown it.

Start here, because it's what started it all for me, and work your way up. Enjoy. Leave some feedback. Make a lunchbox.

For a more detailed view, click on the individual images.

If you're moved to make a lunchbox of your own, and have it included in this exhibit, submissions are welcome. Get your hands on a metal lunchbox (no plastic, please) - you can buy a blank one from or repurpose an old one. Go to town. Choose your superhero, and and run with it. Photograph your finished lunchbox, write a few words about your subject, and send the photos and text to me at, with the words "Superhero Lunchbox" in the subject box.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lana Nieves - The Donner Party

While I realize there's an undeniably snarky irony inherent in making a lunchbox depicting The Donner Party,  I really did mean this as an homage, more than anything else. The story of The Donner Party is the dark side of the American Dream. I guess it could be seen as being a cautionary tale about hubris, but I think it's both a tragedy, and a testament to the innate human will to survive.

The Donner family (and the families who traveled with them, including the Reeds and the Breens) were pioneers. They had real chutzpah. They packed up their stuff, and headed for parts unknown, in search of a new life, and prosperity. Their strength of character and sense of adventure make them heroes of a sort to me. This aspect of who they were gets lost in the telling of their tragic story.

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