Library courtyard, community room on the drawing board
By RICHARD MARK GLOVER
MARFA – A weathered fence between the Marfa Public Library and the Chinati Foundation Locker Plant gallery on Oak Street veils what could be a new community space in Marfa. The land, acquired by the city years ago, could become a library courtyard and community room if the estate of Cecilia Thompson’s $50,000 gift to the library is awarded toward the project.
“More and more libraries are becoming community spaces,” said Renee Mick, Library Director. “But we are limited as far as space to gather. Since we have this bare spot, why not create an outdoor space?”
According to the terms of Thompson’s will, the library has to come up with a specific project for the two lots to use the money. Houston and Marfa attorney Ron Sommers, the executor of Thompson’s estate, will have to sign off on the project before any funds are released.
“He likes the concept,” Mick said.
Mick and library assistant Ryan Young are in charge of fundraising.
“It’s a challenge grant. We’ll have to raise an equal amount,” said Mick. “We’re in the fund-raising mode now and we’d like to complete by the end of the year. We’ve received a grant from a foundation and some private donations already.”
Designer Peter Stanley of Marfa rendered drawings of the courtyard that includes an overhead canopy around the perimeter for shade, a platform for author readings and music events, Chinkapin Oak trees for more shade, pavers, crushed granite, tables, and a community room on the north side.
“You start to define space with a few elements,” Stanley said with drawings in his hand. “Character develops primarily through scale and the materials pallet. Texture is also important. We’ll use the classroom or community building to book-end the courtyard. We know it’s a new building but we want that to subside. The building should read like the three stucco walls already here. The courtyard is the main event.”
The lots lie across the street from Sunset Park, near where city tourism guru Terry Tex Toller wants to restore the park’s fountain that flowed in the 1940s. Above and to the north, the iconic Marfa water tower hangs in the sky and to the east, a signature Donald Judd adobe wall stands spawled and taupe.
“Daytime entrance would be through the library,” Mick said, pointing toward the east wall where two Valerie Arber paintings hang.
A courtyard gate at the street would provide nighttime access for special events.
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