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Living a Cultural Center Lifestyle in Marfa, Texas

Marfa is a pleasant, small art town in west Texas. This little town of about 2,000 near the Big Bend is home to a vast array of artistic treasures, thanks to the efforts of Donald Judd. This minimalist artist moved here from New York in 1971 and began buying large buildings and installing both his art and the work of fellow artists. Since his death foundations have moved in to support the continuation of what he started. Another attraction of Marfa is the Marfa Lights, mysterious lights on the horizon which show up every clear night. Marfa has a number of guest ranches where visitors can experience the high desert of the southwest.

"It's a great place to live," says Joni Marginot, director of the Marfa Chamber of Commerce. He noted that in addition to the Chinati Museum the city is home to art galleries, theater and an annual film festival. "We have a low crime rate, we don't have a lot of traffic, you can walk just about anywhere and the weather is beautiful."

Photo of Presidio County Courthouse courtesy of Wikipedia and Talshiarr.

Where to Retire in Marfa and Home Prices

We are not aware of any 55+communities. There are some nice neighborhoods where people are beginning to retire or purchase second homes. The median price of a home in Marfa is hard to determine since it is such a small town. Trulia reports the average listing price was $391,125 in early 2018.

What is special about Marfa

Marfa is an amazing center of contemporary art, thanks to the Judd Foundation and the Chinati Foundation. The El Paisano Hotel is a local historical landmark of some significance. It has since been turned into luxury condominiums.  Many films and books have been made or set in Marfa, notably "Giant", "There Will Be Blood", and "No Country for Old Men". The Marfa Lights are another important reason why Marfa is a popular tourist town. Thanks to its high elevation temperatures are surprisingly moderate. NPR did a feature on Marfa in 2011 which talked about its popularity for films and art.

What is not special about Marfa

Marfa is a very small town in southwest Texas, which means it is really far from most everything else.

Climate and Physical Environment

Marfa is north of the Big Bend National Park of west Texas. Located in the high desert, it is equidistant from Odessa (TX), Juarez (MEX), and Chihuahua (MEX).  Due to its high elevation (4685'), the average temperatures are moderate. The average July high is 89.  The January high is 59 and the average low is 24. The rainiest month is September (3").

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Judd, a minimalist artist, acquired decommissioned Fort D.A. Russell and transformed the fort's buildings into art spaces in 1979. Judd's vision was to house large collections of individual artists' work on permanent display. Marfa is all about contemporary art. The Chinati Foundation, which occupies 10 buildings at the site, holds an Open House event every year where artists, collectors, and enthusiasts come from around the world to visit. The Lannan Foundation has established a writers-in-residency program, there is a Marfa theater group, and Ballroom Marfa offers space for films, etc.

Crime

The crime rate is about one third the national average.

Medical facilities

The Big Bend Regional Medical Center is 35 miles.

Transportation

Marfa Municipal Airport offers general aviation services. For regularly scheduled flights there is Midland or El Paso, about a 3 hours drive.

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