Marfa Solidarity Bonds
It’s critical that our restaurants survive temporary closures due to COVID-19, because they are the key to our town’s ability to serve both locals and tourists. Marfa's restaurants employ approximately 20% of the population, provide much needed diversity in our very limited local food supply, and are on the front lines of visitor experience.
This project sought to give restaurant owners the funds to stay afloat during this time of uncertainty.
Bonds were sold May 13 to June 1, 2020. The bonds, in various denominations, were designed by local artists, were 3" x 6" in size, were printed on card stock, and shipped in mid-June. Bonds do not expire.
The project raised $85,920.
How It Worked
Bonds retailed for twice their “value”—meaning you might pay $50 for a bond that can be redeemed later for $25 worth of food at a local establishment. This meant 50% of what you paid went directly to the venue for overhead costs, while 50% could be redeemed later when you visit.
Additionally, each participating restaurant gave some percentage of their proceeds to the Marfa Food Bank, which had expanded its operations during the pandemic. This helped solve short-term food insecurity in Marfa, while thinking about our town's long-term needs, including eventual employment and revenue generation.
Participating artists included Maryam Amiryani, Mary Baxter, Camp Bosworth, LéAna Clifton, J.D. Garcia, Jeffrey Hester, Martha Hughes, Zoe Leonard, Eileen Myles, Dustin Pevey, Sam Schonzeit, Shea Slemmer, Julie Speed, Nick Terry, Laszlo Thorsen-Nagel, Charline von Heyl, Leslie Wilkes and Christopher Wool.
Charline von Heyl
This project is based on a similar one created at a restaurant in Red Hook, Brooklyn during Hurricane Sandy. In 2012, Fort Defiance was quite literally under flood water; insurance wouldn’t cover needed repairs and government loans were taking too long. The owner created a series of “junk bonds”—essentially gift certificates that retailed for twice the price. The money raised was the single biggest reason he could eventually reopen.
Solidarity Bond Supporters
We are especially grateful to these supporters who are helped with bond printing and advertising, ensuring that project administration costs would not be passed on to participating restaurants. Our thanks to Ballroom Marfa, Big Bend Sentinel, JackHop, KMKB Radio, and The Marfa Store.
Download JackHop to find out about open restaurants and retail shops in Marfa.
From May 26 through May 29, the Permian Basin Area Foundation generously offered to donate up to $10,000 to match bond sales during the period.