60 Minutes: Marfa, Texas
In a country with widening divides and a seemingly increasing sense of isolation, it is refreshing to come across a place like Marfa, Texas. That’s where Morley Safer traveled to visit a unique community in the Texas desert country, held together by some unique alliances.
60 Minutes: Texas Small Town
What has helped this small town survive in the face of extinction? An influx of young, edgy artists has decided that Marfa is the right place for them to call home. The combination of artists and cowboys is creating an interesting atmosphere and a new chapter for this town.
60 Minutes: Marfa Mayor
Marfa is 200 miles from the nearest airport. It has a population of about 2,000, and the city was once on its way to extinction. Now the city is alive and well, with art galleries, local cuisine, tourists, and local flair.
“It’s a freedom-loving town,” according to mayor Dan Dunlap. It is a quiet place with a crime rate so low, no one can remember when the last murder took place in the town.
60 Minutes: No Country For Old Men
The city was a home base for the movie No Country For Old Men, featuring local banker Chip Love in an acting role.
But that wasn’t the first movie shot near the town. The Texas classic Giant, starring Rock Hudson, James Dean, and Elizabeth Taylor. The movie is memorialized in the city’s Paisano Hotel.
60 Minutes: Marfa New Wave
A new parade of residents includes a more diverse array of activities and interests, including culture and climate, among other hot topics. You never know what you are going to see in this small town cultural hub.
Camp Bosworth and Buck Johnston are from the Marfa New Wave, and they showed off some of the local art on display in their gallery.
60 Minutes: Marfa Painters
Ann Marie Nafziger moved to Marfa from Portland, Oregon. She said she fell in love with the landscape and loves experiencing the town through her painter’s eye.
Painter Maryam Amiryani was born in Iran and eventually settled in Marfa after seeing the world. She said she was attracted to the extreme culture of the town.
60 Minutes: Marfa Texas Weather
Marfa weather can get serious, with everything from tornadoes to hail blowing through the town. Love, the banker, said he was impressed with the courage of newcomers who make the town their home.
A former funeral parlor is now the town bar, while a former dance hall is now an art gallery. Camp and Buck live in a home that was once a church.
60 Minutes: Marfa Bookstore
There is a yoga studio at the town’s bookstore, which features a serious art section. Book shop owner Tim Johnson said that dozens of residents turn up for book readings, in part due to the isolation and lack of other entertainment options in the community.
The town has a single stop sign, and it is home to a small public radio station, managed by Tom Michael, where the community is part of the airtime, from volunteer DJs to local residents as guests. One late resident used to call in and request music for her donkeys to listen to.
60 Minutes: Marfa Natives
Ellery Aufdengarten, a Marfa native, is still working as a rancher, and he loves the land he has been on for his entire life. As for the new artists in the town, Ellery said that he feels their presence has been great for the town itself.
The creative spirit of Marfa could be traced to Donald Judd, a 1970s artist who abandoned New York City for the small Texas town. Judd’s work is on display in a museum of minimalist art.
60 Minutes: Marfa Hispanics
Some residents admit they do not understand some of the art. Joe Cabezuela is a leader among the town’s sizable Hispanic population. He recalled the days when dating was segregated around the town.
Now everyone mingles together in a dizzying kaleidoscope that has helped to keep Marfa on the map through the years. Cabezuela said that artists and tourists are supporting the local economy and creating jobs.
60 Minutes: Prada Marfa
In a small town, you have to be nice and rely on your neighbors. Of course, everyone is in each other’s business in a place where there are no secrets and also no frills.
It looks like a great place to go if you are craving the wide open spaces of West Texas. Then there’s Prada Marfa, a mirage of sorts by German artists. It features Prada merchandise in a locked storefront, a joke of sorts that has generated all kinds of reactions.
Whatever comes next for Marfa, it’s probable that this eclectic mix of residents will press on.