Texas has it’s share of eccentric millionaires, but there was one in my hometown who raised the bar for others…not just for his philanthropy, but because of the art work and creativeness he gave to our community even after his death.
Stanley March 3, notice not a Roman Numeral III. He said the III was way too pretentious for his liking. He was well-known for his outrageous art projects. The one that earned him national notoriety is the 1970s Cadillac Ranch. If you’ve ever driven on Interstate 40 just west of Amarillo you can’t help but notice the Cadillacs planted nose-down in a field to the south of the highway. The trunks and tail-fins of these former gas guzzler’s extend above ground, like whale flukes that become visible just before the big mammals dive…all colorful and personalized by millions of travelers and locals.
Although Marsh had to move the project to stay clear of our urban sprawl, Cadillac Ranch is still open to the public. In fact, visitors are encouraged to participate in the project by spray-painting graffiti on the rusted hulks. Periodically, some are painted in a solid color, so new art work can be added by travelers. It’s a must see when visiting our area.
I can’t help but post a picture of my youngest grandson, who is now in high school, at the ranch in front of one of our famous tumbleweeds a/k/a Russian Thistle. This proves everything in Texas is bigger than life.
Another roadside sculpture closer to Amarillo on the Frying Pan Ranch, one of the original ranches in our area, commissioned by Marsh is the “Two vast and trunkless egs of stone”. It was inspired by the work of British poet Percy Shell, in his 1818 sonnet, Ozmandias. It consists of two legs–one 24 feet tall, the other 34 feet. Like Marsh’s Cadillac Ranch, this art project on their ranch is subject to the occasional gratuitous paint job, and the feet have been seen adorned with sports socks.
The third unique thing that Marsh added to our city are hundreds of bogus highway signs proclaiming surprise announcements or posting questions, such as “What is a village without village idiots?”. They showed up unexpectedly in people’s yards, as well as public places, although many are gone now. Marsh was quoted as saying, “Art is a legalized form of insanity, and I do it very well.”.
Do you have anyone in your own who is eccentric enough to leave their footprints all over the area? I’d love to hear about them.
To two winners who leave a comment, I will give them an eBook of my latest Contemporary Romance Out of a Texas Night.