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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition takes a flight to San Marcos

Local+San+Marcos+artist+Topher+Sipes+kite+hangs+from+the+ceiling+in+front+of+kites+from+the+Sacred+Springs+Kite+Exhibition%2C+Sunday%2C+June+4%2C+2023%2C+at+the+San+Marcos+Public+Library.

Local San Marcos artist Topher Sipes’ kite hangs from the ceiling in front of kites from the Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition, Sunday, June 4, 2023, at the San Marcos Public Library.

At the San Marcos Public Library while checking out books or finding a spot to work, kites can be found floating from the ceiling with artwork filled of flowers, water, wildlife and greenery. This year, the Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition is here to stay all summer.
The Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition, partnered with the San Marcos Arts Commission and created by Art4Water, an art program by the Watershed Association, displays more than 50 kites in the San Marcos Public Library, San Marcos Activity Center and The Meadows Center. These are made by more than 30 local and national artists.
The Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition is the first project for Art4Water with the intention to raise awareness and promote protection on Texas springs.
“Art4Water’s intention is to bridge the gap between culture and conservation,” Aliya Rose, Art4Water coordinator, said. “We’re at a really critical moment in human history and I think the message of conservation… in regard to water is really important. But we can make sure people are inspired, excited and engaged with the art and also educated at the same time.”
The Watershed Association, a nonprofit organization, was formed in December 1996 by David Baker. Baker, a local Wimberly resident who resided next to Jacob’s Well and a group of local landowners, found a threat to Jacob’s Well and Cypress Creek after construction was done, in place harming the water resources.
Now, the Watershed Association offers education on land conservation, guides on Jacob’s Well and a community garden at Jacob’s Well for local gardeners to learn, grow and much more.
Although the Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition is the first project for Art4Water, members of the Watershed Association have future plans to keep the kites flowing while also implementing youth mentorships. Rose aspires to create a program to connect young artists and older artists for a multigenerational educational opportunity in the nearby future.
For now, the Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition is in its second running after a turnout of over 300,000 people viewing the kites for the first time in Austin at the Austin Public Library in 2022.
One of the artists that joined the Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition in 2022 was Topher Sipes, a local artist in San Marcos. From being an art director for Entheo Digital, a digital software therapeutic company, to a virtual reality performer for shows like the Houston Symphony, Sipes passion for art has always remained strong.
His other passion is the environment, having once worked for The Meadows Center as an environmental interpreter for the glass-bottom boat tours. Through the Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition, he has been able to let his passions shine.
“It’s a really unique exhibition to be a part of,” Sipes said. “Having my history in relation to education around spring water conservation is close to my heart so it’s incredible to be a part of a themed exhibit around those things.”
This year, Sipes’ kite depicts the Meadows Center of Spring Lake with clear water, a boat, birds and trees in the background. This artwork has been used for over 10 years by the San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) as the prize for the annual Rogers Family Tourism Award.
“I think my work is a reminder of an opportunity for people to access the water and have a deeper understanding of the water, where it’s coming from, how our actions can effect it and the uniqueness of this particular water,” Sipes said. “In this case, it’s the San Marcos springs and the San Marcos River and there’s all these very unique endangering species that are native to the springs and ancient human history, as well.”
Charlotte Wattigny, the creative and marketing manager for the San Marcos CVB, took part in organizing the Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition this year as part of the San Marcos Arts Commission. Wattigny believes that this kite exhibition will allow for locals to understand that sacred springs need to be kept sacred.
“It not only highlights different art in our community, but also hopefully people that view it will start thinking about the sacred springs in the area,” Wattigny said. “Since we have one, it’s really important to protect it.”
The Sacred Springs Kite Exhibition will remain open until September 2023. For more information, go to https://www.visitsanmarcos.com/artkites/.

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