project image
Kate Egnaczak

first performed on June 30, 2021
Elm Park Mere Ponds and shore, Worcester, MA
performed five times in 2021


Grafton/Worcester, MA


“Pick-Up Sticks 2021” is an original score developed and performed in Elm Park Mere Ponds over the summer of 2021. I traveled the perimeter of three interconnected park ponds gathering sticks and collecting park trash and debris by stand-up paddleboard. The retrieval of each item was a brief but over-exaggerated performative gesture calling attention to the waste in plain sight.

Once overloaded or the score completed, I pulled my board to the shore, where I sorted waste from sticks. Sticks were then separated into stacks by size. Each stack was bundled, bound with plastic yarn, and carried away to my home studio. I repeated the score five times to collect enough sticks for weaving the base “nest” and roof of a sculptural form built out of park debris.

The original score for “Pick-Up Sticks 2021” was included in the sculpture proposal for Exhaale: Art In the Park 2021, a juried biennial outdoor sculpture exhibition in Elm Park. In August 2021, the sticks reappeared as the base of the final floating sculpture, creating a sunny perch for turtles on the woven stick deck. The performance and sculpture animated and illuminated the swampy shallow ponds as ecosystems.

“Pick-Up Sticks 2021” publically cross-references my actions as an artist with the origins of a game that challenges players to untangle a pile of randomly distributed sticks. The score responds to and makes evident the tangled and challenging game of dealing with climate change, urban waste systems, and our shared responsibility to our planet.