Ranch Town, Artist Refuge, Tourist Destination: What is Marfa?

A new book tracks the modern transformation of the West Texas town

By Laura RiceOctober 16, 2017 2:34 pm,

These days Marfa has a reputation for being a uniquely interesting Texas destination. It’s desert beauty has attracted artists and entrepreneurs who have in turn attracted more artists and entrepreneurs. But there are a lot of towns in the Texas desert: what made Marfa the town it is today?

Kathleen Shafer attempts to answer those questions in a new book–”Marfa: The Transformation of a West Texas Town.” Marfa has undergone many transformations throughout its history, but the change that made it the city it is today, according to Shafer, has a lot to do with an artist named Donald Judd.

Judd brought about an artistic renaissance that put Marfa on the map for art lovers and hipsters. Long-time residents of Marfa are seeing their city change from what they used to know, but these changes have been great for the city’s economy.

“This town would be very much close to, if not completely, a ghost town without the art and culture that has happened,” Shafer says. “It really did, over the last twenty or thirty years, provide that resurgence.”

Find out more about the transformation of this West Texas town in the player above.

Written by Nahila Bonfiglio.