One site-specific installation divided by the eager hands of a few dozen adults and children and it becomes history.
Jonathan Brilliant's "Stick Stack" show at the Visual Arts Center ended today with people like me stopping by to pull apart the room-sized piece of sculpture made entirely of wooden coffee stir sticks held together by tension and compression.
Wisely, I arrived in time to take in the installation in its entirety before the mayhem began.
It was truly beautiful, open and airy in an almost lacy way with undulating curves around pipes, columns and walls.
Arched openings yielded to different ceiling heights in the structure; it felt like a magical place inside.
And then the group of excited children and eager adults were allowed to begin dismantling it all. Because no adhesives were used, it was a matter of gently prying apart a section or two to take home.
Some people were more interested in letting loose the tension and having sticks fall around them.
I took the time to pry out a section about three feet wide and tall, my personal part of Brilliant's RVA contribution of his "Have Sticks, Will Travel World Tour."
While the structure as a whole would never again exist exactly like what I'd seen just moments before, I now had my own piece of it for the ages.
The problem was that I had walked to the Visual Arts Center. And while it had been pouring on the walk over, it had been manageable because it wasn't cold and my umbrella was large.
Walking the mile and a half home with a section of unglued sticks under the umbrella was going to be considerably more challenging.
But art lovers persevere and I made it home with only one small piece having become dislodged.
With a bit of personal tension applied to it, I was able to reattach it to the larger piece and it's already been hung on one of the cantaloupe-colored walls in my kitchen.
I think a piece of art made form the detritus of commercial coffee consumption is the ideal thing to greet me when I go in my kitchen to make breakfast each morning.
Since I've never been a coffee drinker, I expect the irony of the piece to be a delicious daily reminder of Brilliant's "natural environment," the coffee shop, only without the alluring smell.