The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE chess board student gathering spot

By Toni Magee/reporter

Tony Wells, left, plays chess with Pierre Montclair on the NE Campus outdoor chess board. The board, a focal point on the campus, was donated by art department students, NE faculty and staff and supporters.  Photo by André Green/The Collegian
Tony Wells, left, plays chess with Pierre Montclair on the NE Campus outdoor chess board. The board, a focal point on the campus, was donated by art department students, NE faculty and staff and supporters. Photo by André Green/The Collegian

Have you ever had spare time in between your classes but could not find anything to keep you occupied? Well, how about playing chess?

In the courtyard on NE Campus sits a giant outdoor chessboard, which Karmien Bowman, associate professor of art, calls her passion.

In 1997, Bowman, who has been teaching on the campus for 18 years, and her ceramics students wanted to contribute something back to the college and decided to make the chessboard an anniversary gift.

Bowman expressed her gratitude toward Fort Worth philanthropists Betty and the late Hardy Sanders, who helped fund the construction of the chessboard.

“Betty and Hardy Sanders have been long-time supporters for the fine arts in area schools, museums and for TCC,” she said.

After three years of raising money to build the piece, it was completed in 2000.

Bowman said many of the donors who helped purchase granite have honored a loved one with inscriptions on the squares of the bronze plaque. The plaque, which sits in an adjacent garden, was given in part by Schaefer Art Bronze Foundry in Arlington.

Bowman said the commemorative squares serve to remind visitors and students of the caring community and businesses who support the college.

She also said the surrounding garden was a vision of Dr. Paula Vastine, director of student development services on NE Campus. And the large rocks in the area were partially donated and placed by TexArt Stone of Southlake.

“The giant outdoor chessboard is a focal point for intellectual athletics of chess,” she said. “It is a lovely place under that big shade tree if you are meeting a friend or wanting to play a game.”

Bowman and students of the Northeast Campus Association of Potters and Sculptors said they are pleased with the outcome of placing the chessboard in that location.

The chessboard is not just for recreation; it serves as a meeting place for school activities, as well. It’s a central point for all organizations to set up an event because of the open space and beauty of the courtyard, Bowman said.

NECAPS still honors the chessboard and what it means to the group by holding its annual Mad Hatters Tea event there.

The only other chessboard like it in Texas is located in Galveston right off the Strand, Bowman said.

“My heart wells up because so many people enjoy that chessboard,” she said.

“Dr. Vastine and I are working on another idea to extend and enhance the area with a stream and additional garden for students to enjoy.”

So, whether it is playing chess on a giant chessboard or just taking in the sights, wasted spare time between classes has become something of the past.

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