Taubman invites community to help with exhibit teardown

(Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10)-- This weekend people in the Roanoke Valley are getting the chance to do something they've never done before, touch some of the art that's on display at the Taubman Museum of Art.

It's been several months since The Stir City exhibit went up and this weekend, the huge piece-- made up of more than 70,000 coffee stirrer sticks, is all coming down. The museum says it will be no small feat, so they're looking for help from people in the community.

The piece was created on site as the artist, Jonathan Brilliant, spent ten days at the museum weaving the sticks tightly together. The entire piece is held together on its own, without any glue or products to hold the sticks in place.

As visitors help with the deinstallation on Sunday, they're free to take the art home with them-- either in big portions still woven together or as individual coffee stirrer sticks they can use for something else.

Amy Moorefield, the Deputy Director of Exhibitions at the museum, says she's worked in the art world for more than 20 years and has never heard of anything like this.

"It's a huge no-no in terms of the art community," she says. "We've all been taught not to touch. So this is a unique and rare opportunity for people to really get their hands in it and take it apart and take the work home with them."

The Stir City project is made up of 70,000 wooden coffee stirrer sticks, 500 coffee sleeves and the walls are decorated with espresso grounds, giving the room a coffee house smell as well. It's a piece he says he want's to stay in the Roanoke community, even after its time on display is over.

"This piece has been created specifically for our community," says Moorefield. "It's unique to the space and unique to the museum, it will never exist anywhere else. For him, it's important to have people lay hands on it at the end and be able to take a piece of it home as a reminder."

Any of the sticks left over at the end of the day on Sunday will be put to good use-- they'll be used in the kid's gallery at the Taubman and donated to local schools.

The deinstallation will happen on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Anyone is invited to attend.