Out In Culture: MARFA – Muse & Mecca July 12 2013, 0 Comments

Remote. Bohemian. Nomadic. MARFA, a tiny West Texas border town 200 miles from anywhere is home to a thriving art and cultural scene. In the past several years it has become THE place to embrace creative alchemy – think wide open spaces, amazing music, a gigantic bookstore and the cross-pollination of ideas.

Rich in culture, Marfa has a colorful past. In the 1970's minimalist artist Donald Judd landed there, after choosing to escape the confines of the art scene in New York City. Judd acquired several properties including a former army base and began filling them with art, his own and other notable works by artists such as Dan Flavin. The contemporary work, Prada Marfa by Elgreen & Dragset, brings a surreal, sophisticated site specific sculpture to the landscape, however this store is never open... and will never function as a place of commerce.

Marfa is also a movie star, originally in the 1956 film " Giant," starring James Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor and more recently in "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country for Old Men" – the area in and around the town served as cinematic backdrops for the films.

The Marfa water tower looms over the community like an industrial sculptural calling card beckoning visitors to "Look At Me." One such place not to be missed, is hotelier Liz Lambert's El Cosmico. A combination of alternative nomadic dwellings and vintage travel trailers define the sleeping options. Set up camp under the big sky in one of El Cosmico's safari tents, or choose a 22 ft diameter tepee aglow on the horizon as night falls. Each option comes complete with its own communal experiences. Don't miss the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music & Love held annually in September, sure to be filled with fantastic music and desert revelry. The Thunderbird Hotel (photo: far right), is another option for a stay in Marfa. Also by hotelier Liz Lambert, this re-imaged hotel has been transformed with integrity and is characterized by good design and clean modern aesthetics.


The gallery scene in Marfa is a blend of sophistication and wit. Ballroom Marfa, a center for the public exploration of contemporary art and culture is housed in a converted 1927 dance hall. With relevant and inspiring work from the areas of visual art, film and music, Ballroom Marfa provides a dynamic look into a community redefined.

Marfa is as mysterious as its famed Mystery Lights, and is a one of kind West Texas town that soulfully connects the visitor to earth and sky in a beautiful experiential way not be missed… another amazing stop along roadside America. See our Pinterest-themed Marfa board here.