Building - and toppling - whatever they want

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BRATTLEBORO — A path of falling pieces is designed by domino builders who come yearly to Brattleboro Museum & Art Center with no specific plan in mind.

"This is my sixth consecutive year of coming," domino artist Nathan Heck, 17, of North Carolina, said Sunday during the 11th annual Domino Toppling Extravaganza. "We really have a core group of builders that comes to do this. We've gotten very close to each other over the years and this is kind of a unique event in that we get to just come and build whatever we want."

Other projects involve building for a corporation and around themes, Heck said. He described the BMAC event as "medium sized" as other such events have seen his group using as many as 250,000 dominoes.

On Sunday, the 28,414 dominoes began toppling in one corner of the museum and finished in the center of the room. The event takes about 30 hours to set up and ends in about three minutes, said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld.

"We've been building this for about two-and-a-half days," said lead artist Lily Hevesh, 19, of Massachusetts. "This came out way better than I thought."

Hevesh said she was "super happy" about there being nearly no dominoes left standing by the end.

Locals, New England residents and out-of-state visitors came out for the event. Florida had been the farthest from which any attendee had traveled.

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Heck flew in for the first time this year. Other years, his parents have driven him.

"Normally, I have to bring dominoes to the event," Heck said. But this year, Hevesh "had enough to bring so I was able to fly up and not bring any of my supplies."

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The group tries to include a few recognizable characters every year, with this year's coming from "The Incredibles" and "Monsters Inc."

Heck led the crew in the color scheme.

"He planned the fields but we all just did our own sections and helped each other out at the same time," said Hevesh.

Hevesh said she loves how dominoes create a game of trying to ensure all of them fall.

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"With other art forms, you might just look at it," she said. "But with dominoes, it has an actual purpose to knock down all the dominoes."

Hevesh has been building for about 11 years. She called the activity "controlled chaos and controlled destruction."

She has a popular YouTube channel called Hevesh5 that has more than 2 million subscribers.

And a filmmaker has been following her around since the beginning of the year.

"They're doing a feature length film on me and the domino community," said Hevesh.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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