The intersection of hip-hop & chess in the Central West End

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Daniel Burnett is moving his pawn into place in the Central West End.

“You know I was into break dancing, I have turn tables, I like to free style,” says artist Daniel Burnett.  “I got into graffiti since I was 14 and I’ve been doing that for almost 16 years now.”

Today at the World Chess Hall of Fame, he was working on this month long project. He’s painting this mural and combining some of his favorite things.

“If you remove the letter forms of graffiti it’s simply abstract art.  It’s a lot of bright colors and geometric shapes,” says Burnett.

For the next six months Maryland and Euclid will become the intersection of hip-hop and chess. They`ve only been open a few days but already eyes and ears are opening up to the living like kings exhibit.

“We’ve had record numbers coming through the building and it’s been the most diverse crowd that we’ve ever had,” says Shannon Bailey, the Chief Curator at the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Opening night brought 550 people and a line around the block of the big chess piece in the central west end.

“Chess was exploding in the United States in the 1970’s with Bobby Fisher winning the World Chess Championship and he was in New York and Manhattan and Brooklyn,” says Bailey.  “Well, at the same time in the Bronx the Hip Hop movement is coming up. ”

The show which was planned three years ago promotes tolerance and understanding during its six months at the World Chess Hall of Fame.
This is the first of a series of installations that artists will create on a continuing basis.

“It makes it more of an organic process because the people that come in and interact with you and talk with you changes the way you look at the piece,” says Burnett.

And moving forward, a pawn is a good piece to start with when telling a story of hip hop and chess colliding in the Central West End.

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