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Darden Smith Songwriting Workshop

in collaboration with Marfa ISD

Tuesday & Wednesday, September 29 & 30, 2015 


Marfa Live Arts hosted Darden Smith for a two-day “Be An Artist” Workshop with Marfa 7th and 8th graders.  An internationally acclaimed artist, Darden also founded the Songwriting with Soldiers for veterans.


“Everything we do is art. Everyone is an artist,” Darden told the students. “There are no rules when it comes to what we love to do. You control your happiness,” he said. He shared the following three directives:

ATTENTION: You can accomplish anything if you are aware and paying attention.

INTENTION: Even small daily goals should be pursued with purpose; practice and intention drive success.

LOVE: Cultivate passion for what makes you happy, and do something you love every day.


“Thank goodness we’re not all the same. The things you feel weird about, those are probably your best parts,” Darden shared. He played a song each day for the students, and the students worked as a group to write a song each day.  Together they performed and recorded four songs with Darden on guitar.


The student’s participation, collaboration and choice of song topics included: desire to make the world a better place; finding joy in small things; dreaming of riding a horse to the ends of the earth; and sharing what Marfa means to them.


At the end, Darden told the students, “Don’t be afraid to dream. Live the truth. Be who you are.”


This project was generously supported by Marfa Education Foundation. Special thanks to Andy Peters, Marfa Table, Gory Smelley, and Adam Ramierez for their assistance in making this opportunity available to the Marfa Middle School students.










Darden Smith is a singer-songwriter, educator, and speaker with a 30-year career that continues to evolve and grow. He has released fourteen critically acclaimed albums and toured extensively in both the US and Europe. Among his other diverse projects, Smith has composed a symphony, scored three full-length dance theater works, produced a documentary for BBC2 Radio, and served as Artist-in-Residence at Oklahoma State University’s Riata School of Entrepreneurship (2011-2013). His Be An Artist Program and Songsmithing workshops bring creativity and collaboration sessions to schools, corporations, and other clients. He is also the founder and creative director of Songwriting With:Soldiers, a program that pairs professional songwriters with wounded soldiers to create songs based on the soldiers’ stories of combat and returning home.


Smith’s latest album is Love Calling, released in 2013 on Compass Records.

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