Forty-eight hours of painstaking set-up. Tens of thousands of pieces arranged with mathematical precision. And just one light tap to set roughly 900 square feet of domino art in motion.
The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC)’s annual crowd favorite—the Domino Toppling Extravaganza—returns on Sunday, October 8, at 5:30 p.m. The colorful spectacle is now in its 16th year, which makes it the longest-running domino event in the world. This year it will take place before a live audience at 28 Vernon Street, next door to the museum, and also will be livestreamed on Facebook.
Admission to the in-person event, sponsored by the Latchis Hotel and Theatre, is free for children 8 and under, $3 for BMAC members, and $5 for all others. Tickets are available in advance or at the door, but because space is limited, advance purchase is advised. Buy tickets at brattleboromuseum.org or call 802-257-0124 x101.
Internationally renowned domino toppler and YouTube superstar Lily Hevesh and a team of artists—including Brady Dolan, Nathan Heck, and Chris Wright—will arrive on Friday, October 6, to begin their installation process. Hevesh has been called the “queen” of domino art by Inc. Magazine and “the brightest star in the domino universe” by the Washington Post. She has attracted nearly four million YouTube subscribers, launched her own brand of dominoes, and collaborated on projects with Google, Disney, Marvel, Ford, Honda, and LEGO. Her work has been highlighted on NBC, FOX News, Nickelodeon, CNN, and CBS, and she was featured in the award-winning 2021 documentary “Lily Topples the World.”
Despite those global accomplishments, Brattleboro’s domino event holds a special place in Hevesh’s very full event calendar.
“This is unique because we get to do anything we want, and this is one of the riskiest because we’re making it up on the spot,” she told VT Digger before the 2022 toppling. “We don’t have a lot of time to test everything. We just fill the floor.”
Last year, Hevesh and her fellow artists used 26,000 dominoes to fill the floor of the museum’s Wolf Kahn & Emily Mason Gallery. This year, for the first time, the installation will take place next door to the museum, in the former Marlboro College Graduate School building at 28 Vernon Street.
“The exhibition currently on view at the museum doesn’t leave enough floor space for all the dominoes as well as the audience members who usually show up for this event,” said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld. “We’re grateful to the new owner of the building next door for letting us take over that space for a few days. It’s going to work beautifully and might even allow for more dominoes than usual.”
Doors open to spectators at 5 p.m. on October 8, and the toppling begins at 5:30 p.m. Watch live online for free via Facebook Live starting at 5:15 p.m. Members of the in-person audience can win the chance to start the whole chain reaction by guessing the correct number of dominoes used in the building process. Parking will be available at 28 Vernon Street. Backpacks and strollers will need to be left at the door.
Brattleboro Museum & Art Center
Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. BMAC is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10-4. Admission is free, courtesy of M&T Bank. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.
BMAC is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Brattleboro Savings & Loan, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Beer Co.