Inspired by art’s potential to elicit critical conversation and generate new ideas, Ballroom Marfa launched Marfa Dialogues, an initiative to bring together voices reflective of the many perspectives of our diverse community. Marfa Dialogues aims to discover new perspectives on social issues by examining them through the lens of artistic practice. During our inaugural event, we addressed some of the pressing and complex issues that confront all of us who live in the border region that joins and divides the United States and Mexico.
Ballroom Marfa and The Washington Spectator, in collaboration with The Big Bend Sentinel, Marfa Public Radio and Marfa Book Company, presented Marfa Dialogues: Politics and Culture of the Border, three days of art, film, music, and literature that addresses the concerns and aesthetics of the border. Participants include journalists Cecilia Ballí, Charles Bowden, Mark Danner, Robert Halpern, Dahr Jamail, and Sandra Rodríguez Nieto; publisher Hamilton Fish, GRITtv host Laura Flanders, Professor of Political Science Kathleen Staudt, filmmaker Luis Carlos Davis, Las Cruces-based artist David Taylor.
- Conversation with non-fiction author, journalist, and essayist Charles Bowden and radio host Laura Flanders
- Journalist panel moderated by journalist Dahir Jamail with Sandra Rodriguez Nieto, Robert Halpern, Cecilia Balli, Kathleen Staudt
- Presentation with photographer David Taylor
- Conversation with writer and journalist Mark Danner, Hamilton Fish
- Film Screening of 389 Miles with director-producer Luis Carlos Davis
- Music performance by La Santa Cecilia
- Reading with poet Benjamin Alire Sáenz, introduced by Tim Johnson, Marfa Book Company
- Closing celebration of Lieu of Unity, an exhibition presented at Ballroom Marfa that brings together artists from Mexico – citizens, residents and emigrants – who have sustained a curiosity about social relations in their art practices. Participating artists included: Eduardo Abaroa, Margarita Cabrera; Livia Corona; Minerva Cuevas; Mario García Torre s, Máximo González, Paulina Lasa, Teresa Margolles, Pedro Reyes and Tercerunquinto.
The Marfa Dialogues is funded and supported in part by The Washington Spectator; Kay Taylor Burnett; The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston; the Texas Commission on the Arts; John Thornton; Fredericka Hunter; and Ballroom Marfa members. Tremendous gratitude to the Thunderbird Hotel for their in-kind support.