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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.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

What's an Art Spark?

We're glad you asked.

Every year the Block Party features a community art project--designed to celebrate and commemorate our rich Hispanic culture and heritage--in a way that fosters pride, ownership, and engagement on the part of all residents and visitors to Marfa. The first year it was a mural. In 2019, it's a walking tour with historic themes. Next year? Who knows--only that it will engage, honor, and represent our community. 


The Blackwell Block Party and Community Art Spark receive generous grants from the City of Marfa, private foundations, local businesses, and individuals near and far. Visit our gofundme page or use the link below. THANK YOU ALL!!

We also need volunteers to help prepare for the event and to help out on the day. Lots of different tasks are needed. Could this be you? SIGN UP NOW!


The Blackwell School is located at 501 South Abbott Street, at the corner of Waco Street, in south Marfa. From the 4-way stop, go two blocks west and three blocks south. 

The Party

The Blackwell School Alliance hosts the Block Party as part of our mission to serve the Marfa community through culture, history, and education. 

The Block Party is a free, family friendly event serving multiple generations and people of all backgrounds through art, dance, music, stories, and food. The Party is held on the grounds of the Blackwell School and Blackwell Park in south Marfa. 

11:00 a.m. Kick off the Day with the unveiling of our Walking Tour at a site to be determined in Marfa, then move to the Blackwell School.

11:30 a.m. Lunch is served: tamales, carne, agua fresca, y mas--and it is free, our gift to you. Everyone is welcome.

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Primo and Beebe bring their special musical blend of traditional and Texas favorites. 

1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Additional entertainments.

12:00 to 4:00 p.m. Presentation of Historic Structures Report, activities for kids, loteria, and more fun stuff. 

3:00 to 4:00 p.m. DJ Natalie Melendez provides the soundtrack for a lazy afternoon visiting with friends and eating cake (Oh, that's right! There's gonna be a giant cake!).

BBP2019 logo.jpg

The Walking Tour

Picture yourself walking down the main street of Marfa, 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. The Blackwell School was Marfa’s school for Mexican American children until 1965.


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.

Borderland Collective is a long-term art and education project that utilizes collaborations
between artists, educators, youth, and community members to engage complex issues and
build space for diverse perspectives, meaningful dialogue, and modes of creation and reflection. Started in 2007 in the small oil town of Big Lake, Texas by public school teacher Ryan Sprott and artist Jason Reed, the project has worked in various and fluid ways with a few hundred participants to date, each of whom has been an integral part of our work. Among them include young women navigating between Native American tradition and urban culture in Albuquerque, East Asian and African refugees new to America and searching for a sense of place in San Antonio, young men who ranch in Mexico on the weekends but call Presidio, Texas home, or undergrads at Washington and Lee University touring our Northern Triangle traveling exhibition and mapping out their family migration stories. The collective in Borderland Collective, therefore, references a mindset rather than a set group of members, allowing for ever-evolving modes of practice and perspective. Borderland Collective projects are archived at Texas State University, have been exhibited in galleries and public spaces in Texas, Arizona, Illinois, New York, Washington D.C, and Mexico City, and have been shared through lectures and publications across the globe.

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