Protect Chinati’s Viewshed and Edges

Chinati is located on the Marfa Plateau, a mile-high desert grassland between the Davis Mountains to the north and the Chinati Mountains and the Rio Grande on the south and southwest. This high location affords views of the Chinati Mountains to the south and buttes to the east that help to define and accent the experience of the land. Both the historic residential properties from the Fort D.A. Russell era, which line the edge of the former fort’s barracks area to the north and west, and the ranchlands that provide the fort’s original context, are important elements of Chinati’s viewshed and of the experience of the art. As Marfa grows and changes and Chinati itself becomes a greater attraction, those trends could stimulate changes beyond Chinati’s property.

Judd’s 15 untitled works in concrete. Photo by Douglas Tuck

The master plan outlines methods Chinati may consider to manage the predictability of changes that can be expected to take place over time on the many properties surrounding the lands owned by the museum. In many cases, Chinati does not have to act alone. Partnerships with both the City of Marfa and qualified conservation organizations—typically called “land trusts” or “conservancies”—are  important. Partners might be better suited to implement some of the strategies and can also take on some of the transactional and long-term costs involved in managing easements.