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2019 Blackwell Block Party & Community Art Spark

Tax deductible
Picture yourself walking down the main street of Marfa, Texas, a sunny day, any day. You turn the corner to cut over to grab a coffee or some breakfast, check your mail box, meet your friends at the bar. There on the wall is something different, and it makes you smile. There is a photograph six feet high from a bygone era of Marfa’s history. You think you don’t know the laughing children in the photograph, but maybe that one looks like your grandma, or maybe your neighbor. You’ve got a minute, so you pull up the audio link on your phone. A marching band plays a song, and a woman tells a story related to the photograph. Her voice is rich with the spirit of the borderlands. Whether you’ve met her before or not, you know this woman. She is our history, our heritage, the keeper of another time before the Marfa of today.

You continue on your way, and around another corner, you find another image plastered to a blank wall. A teenage boy and girl lean against a car and smile. Their clothes, the car, the black and white photo take you back to a time before time. This audio features the voice of a man—each story a piece of the puzzle of a community’s history.

If you are new to Marfa, perhaps you had no idea of all the wonders and hardships of Marfa before the art. You want to learn more. If you were born here, you see your family and its history reflected in the town’s history. You want to learn more, too.

You realize that more of these giant pictures dot the town. You pick up a guide to the walking tour at the coffee shop and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring, learning, laughing, mourning, and understanding a little bit more about who we are.

The Blackwell School Alliance , in partnership with Borderland Collective , presents a walking tour of Marfa’s history from the perspective of former students, teachers, friends, and neighbors of the Blackwell School. We need your help to make the project a reality. 

The project will gather oral histories, sounds, and images to create a walking tour of twenty sites around the community, debuting at the 2019 Blackwell Block Party  on Saturday, April 27. The images will be on display for one year. In addition, a newspaper will be created that contains a map guiding locals and visitors alike on the walking tour and a selection of photographs and stories associated with the tour. The newspaper will be distributed across the community in stores, hotels, community centers, schools, and government offices.

During the Block Party, Borderland Collective will set up an interactive activity allowing the community to contribute further to the historical narratives. This thematic and interactive art program and experience brings together diverse communities and varied visions to create a tangible and educational public art work in Marfa to foster pride, ownership, and engagement.

The Blackwell Block Party is an annual one-day festival celebrating and commemorating the diverse culture and the rich heritage of Marfa. The 2019 Block Party brings great entertainment, delicious food, music, games, and fun for all ages.

The Community Art Spark is a work of public art created for and by the Blackwell School community and our friends, neighbors, and visitors. Each year, the Blackwell School Alliance partners with an artist to reflect back our history with fresh ideas and a spirit of love and creativity.

Please consider making a donation today. Every bit helps to create the walking tour, pay the artists, fund the entertainments for the party, and ensure that we can always provide our guests with a free buffet lunch and a wonderful reunion and party. 


Gretel Enck
Marfa, TX
Blackwell School Alliance
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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