A sculptural chess table, designed and built by a Wake Forest University art professor and two Wake Forest students in cooperation with the Winston Salem Scholastic Chess Association, will be presented to the city at “Rock the Block” festivities Oct. 15. Originally scheduled for Sept. 17, the event has been postponed due to Hurricane Ivan.
The chess table, called “Lateral Thinking,” is located on the sidewalk adjacent to Winston Square Park on North Marshall St. Chess matches and entertainment will follow the 5:45 p.m. ceremony.
Jim Toole, a board member of the Winston-Salem Scholastic Chess Association, came up with the idea of creating a local outdoor chess venue and received a grant from the Winston-Salem Foundation to fund a competition to design the table.
David Finn, associate professor of art at Wake Forest and a Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Fellow, won the competition with two Wake Forest students, Steve Gurysh and Heather Hans. Both Gurysh and Hans are from Winston-Salem.
The design is an animal-shaped beam of steel containing smaller sculptural elements: a diving figure, a group of turned wooden shapes and a stone ammonite shell.
The unusual design, said the artists, is meant to provoke the viewer and player to think out of the box, i.e., “laterally,” by using creative associations to come up with new ideas and solutions to problems.
Gurysh also received a research grant from the university to carve the stone for the project. He and Finn worked for six months to complete the design, which is fabricated from powder-coated steel, stone, wood and plastic.
The project is the first completed by Art Pro Humanitate, an informal group of Wake Forest art students formed by Finn to work on projects in the Winston-Salem community. The goal of Art Pro Humanitate is to work with communities to create art that will help them develop and prosper, and to do this by collaboration between art students and professional artists, Finn said.
The mission of the Winston-Salem Scholastic Chess Association is to promote the education of chess among children in the Winston-Salem area. The association sponsors competitions and clubs throughout the area.