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In the 1970s, Marsh collaborated with the art group Ant Farm to create the Cadillac Ranch. Marsh has funded other public art projects in Amarillo besides Cadillac Ranch, which include the "Dynamite Museum," an ongoing project consisting of hundreds of mock traffic signs. These signs, bearing messages such as "Road does not end," "Lubbock is a grease spot," and "I have traveled a great deal in Amarillo," may be found throughout the city of Amarillo. A series of the mock traffic signs are also displayed in Adrian, Texas, about 45 miles west of Amarillo. Marsh was said to have wanted the signs to be placed in towns beginning with the letter "A". Additional public art projects sponsored by Marsh were a supposed remains of a giant statue called "Ozymandias" and the "Floating Mesa," a huge natural mesa with a narrow white band wrapped on top of it. Despite the attention of the art projects sponsored by Marsh, critics have called them eyesores with little or no artistic value. In response to the criticism, he is quoted as saying, "Art is a legalized form of insanity, and I do it very well."
Marsh also appears in documentaries which featured Cadillac Ranch or the city of Amarillo such as The Plutonium Circus and Road Does Not End, a short documentary by a Dallas-based filmmaker about Marsh and the art projects he funded.
Stanley Marsh 3's grandfather, Stanley Marsh, was an oilman who, along with Don Harrington and Lawrence R. Hagy, started a business that developed oil and gas properties in the Texas Panhandle. While Marsh is the third person in his family named Stanley, he uses the Arabic numeral "3" in place of the traditional Roman numeral "III" ("the third"), as he considers the latter to be pretentious.
In the 1990s, Marsh had four lawsuits alleging imprisonment, sexual misconduct and harassment of teens. All four of them were later settled. One of the lawsuits included a member of the Whittenburg family, the former owners of the Amarillo Globe-News.
Marsh and his wife, Gwendolyn O'Brien "Wendy" Marsh, reside in an estate called "Toad Hall". The couple has five children, including Stanley Marsh, IV (born October 1, 1968). The Marsh family founded The Wendy and Stanley Marsh 3 Endowed Lectureship in Pharmacology and Neurochemistry of Substance Abuse/Addiction at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. The family also donated land to Ascension Academy, an Amarillo private school. Wendy Marsh has chaired the Amarillo College Board of Trustees.
In 2011, Marsh suffered a series of strokes that, as of November 2012, have left him incapacitated. In October 2012, Marsh was named as the defendant in a series of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of several underage teenage boys, who were represented by Houston attorney Anthony Buzbee. The suit was reported settled out of court on February 21, 2013; the following statement was given at the time of the settlement: "The Plaintiffs and the Marsh entities in this case, to include Gwendolyn Marsh as Guardian for Stanley Marsh 3, have resolved all of their differences. None of the Parties is authorized to comment on the nature or amount of the settlement. The Parties agree that Stanley Marsh 3 does not own the Cadillac Ranch. The Parties will have no further comment.”
On April 10, 2013, Marsh was indicted by a Texas grand jury in Potter County for the alleged sexual assault of two teenagers between 2010 and 2011. He is charged with four counts of sexual assault of a child, eight counts of sexual performance by a child, and two counts of indecency with a child.
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