When exploring San Marcos, you will find no shortage of public art, including creative statues and vibrant murals. There is also a bubbling independent art scene where residents and visitors alike can engage with local visual artists. Read on to learn more about some of these projects and organizations championing local culture and arts in town.
Public Art Projects
Many of the imaginative and unique murals around the city are funded by the San Marcos Mural Arts Program. Starting back in 2014, this city program allocates funds from hotel occupancy tax collections to commission artists to place murals on private property throughout the town.
Take a look at the interactive tour to view the numerous murals, small and large, located around San Marcos:
Celebrate Diversity: Our Common Thread
In addition to murals funded by the Mural Arts Program, other local organizations have also helped contribute to the growing number of public murals. In late 2020, the Downtown Association along with Dunbar Heritage Association, El Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos, and the Indigenous Cultures Institute created the “Celebrate Diversity: Our Common Thread” mural located at E Martin Luther King Drive and S LDJ Drive. Learn more about the muralist, Robert Jones, and all those who contributed to the mural on the Downtown Association website.
Revealing of “Celebrate Diversity: Our Common Thread” – Photo by Nick Castillo at the San Marcos Daily Record
Mano Amiga Mural
More recently during the summer of 2021, visual artists from local organization Mano Amiga teamed up with the Council for the Indigenous and Tejano Community to learn about local Latinx leaders to feature in their mural located at the QC Meat Market on Guadalupe Street. The mural honoring historical figures that advocated for the city’s Latinx and low-income populations was created with donations from the San Marcos Art Commission, Poetry Foundation, and the Texas State Center for the Study of the Southwest.
To learn more about the Mano Amiga mural, check out this article from the University Star.
Mano Amiga Mural honoring local Latinx leaders – Photo by Alyssa Gonzalez at the San Marcos Daily Record
In 2018, the Mermaid March project came to life and produced 10 seven-foot-tall mermaid sculptures each painted by a unique artist. The San Marcos Art Commission launched this project to celebrate the long history of mermaid culture in the city as well as to create a conversation starter for tourists.
Images of Mermaid Statues by Mermaid Society of Texas – steward of the Mermaid Statue Project.
Have you seen all 10 sculptures around town? Embark on a scavenger hunt to find all the mermaids or peek at the Visit San Marcos website for a map that will lead you to all the Mermaid Statue destinations.
Local Art Galleries
Stepping indoors, San Marcos and the surrounding areas host a handful of free, publicly available galleries which curate a rotating collection of hundreds of visual art works.
- The Texas State Galleries: located in the School of Fine Arts Building on Texas State University campus and exhibits student work during the Fall and Spring semesters
- The Wittliff Collections: gallery founded by Austin screenwriter and photographer, Bill Witliff, and his wife, at the Texas State University’s Alkek Library with rotating exhibits showcasing southwestern art, as well as a permanent collection of photography, music archives, and props from the Lonesome Dove TV series
- The Walkers’ Gallery: professionally curated gallery featuring local artwork that lives in the hallways of the San Marcos Activity Center
- The Price Center Galleries: housed in what was historically a church building, this community events center hosts seasonal art shows with work from local artists
- San Marcos Art Center: located downtown on the San Marcos Square, this gallery showcases the work of members of the San Marcos Art League, a local art-focused non-profit with pieces ranging from paintings, ceramics, and more
Events + Interactive Experiences
Eye of the Dog Art Center
Looking to get your hands dirty? Eye of the Dog is the place for some hands-on experience on making pottery. They have a few workshops to sign up for to learn your way around a potter’s wheel. Check out their website for more information.
Studio San Martian
This creative, community art space hosts a variety of painting workshops ranging from painting UFOs to dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes. Studio San Martian not only excels in the visual arts but also in live music events, poetry nights, yoga classes, and much more. Take a look at their website to book a workshop or learn more.
San Marcos Public Library
Our community library offers a number of events and classes promoting the visual arts including watercolor basics, fiber arts, and even crafts for the kiddos! Visit the San Marcos Public Library calendar to see the upcoming events.
On every second Saturday of the month (March – December), the Art Squared Arts Market, hosted by San Marcos Art League, takes place in the Downtown Square. This event features regional artists offering their works for sale – glass, metalworks, photography, drawings, jewelry, and more.
If you know where to look, one is seldom left wanting for things to do in San Marcos thanks to the creative contributions of local artists. Looking to secure a townhome at Lively Lane that’s within biking distance to most of these cultural destinations and experiences? Give us a call at (512) 392-3322 or message Live@LVLYLN.com for more information.
Cover Image of “Life Lessons” sculpture by George Lundeen in the Children’s Park – Photo provided by Visit San Marcos