Eli Whitney Museum

Show Menu

The 6th Leonardo Challenge


Thumbnail of Checkers project

On May 18th, 2000, the Eli Whitney Museum will open an exhibition of small works created for the sixth annual Leonardo Challenge.

Designers, artists, architects, educators, and engineers make of common materials uncommon expressions. This work helps de?ne design as a way of thinking: a fundamental mission of the Museum’s teaching. The exhibition demonstrates the breadth and significance of design as an economic activity in the New Haven region.

The May 18th Premiere will support the Museum’s Design Arts
curriculum for schools and underwrites workshops and classes for very young designers.

The Player
Draughts are an ancient diversion. Pharaohs played. Like games evolved in China, India, Turkey and Africa. A book on checkers was printed when books were first printed in Leonardo’s epoch.

Every hand has moved a checker. On to each nondescript piece, de?ned simply by color, we project many names and ranks. In the game, we train our minds to add meanings of power and position to ciphers. And beyond the game, the ciphers become universal pieces: building blocks of invention and art.

The Board
The grid of the checkerboard is a universal structure. It is the frame that guides Leonardo’s eye, it is the architecture of maps, it is the map of architecture. It unites the mind of the artist and the mathematician.

The Challenge
Let your mind play with these common objects. In these familiar forms, find unexpected meanings. We will send you a bag of 24 wooden checkers and a paper checkerboard. Use as many or as few of the checkers as you like. You may use the board or you may choose not to use it.

  • Add materials as you wish.
  • The completed work must fit within a 15 x 15 inch footprint. The height is unrestricted.
  • Return your finished design to the Eli Whitney Museum by Friday, May 12th.
  • Works in by May 5th may be photographed to use for publicity purposes

Return the entry form to request materials. For a $25 entry
fee, you will receive two tickets to the May 18th event, a 2000 Leonardo Challenge T-shirt, and more importantly, partnership in this creative educational effort.

Should you choose to donate the work to the Museum to be bid upon the night of the opening, you help to sponsor students who otherwise could not afford to make use of the Museum’s creative outlet.

"Sushi" Andrea Sangrey

"Checker Chan" Caz Bzderya

"Lilly Pads" Mollie Keller

"Checkered Cab" Sylvia Rosenthal

"Milk and Cookies" Aurora Braddon

"Checker Covered Chocolates" Bruce Wojick

"Lamp" Stephen Dickus

Back to Top