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Studio San Martian paints inclusivity, acceptance within local art community

Owner+Kelsey+Huckaby+%28left%29+poses+for+a+photo+with+co-owner+Jason+Sherman+%28right%29%2C+Wednesday%2C+March+3%2C+2021%2C+at+Studio+San+Martian.

Owner Kelsey Huckaby (left) poses for a photo with co-owner Jason Sherman (right), Wednesday, March 3, 2021, at Studio San Martian.

Tucked away on the northwest side of San Marcos, colorful eclectic art lines the walls, handmade crafts sit atop display shelves and the smell of burning incense fills the air at Studio San Martian — a vibrant place in which artists and art lovers alike can create freely and feel supported by others in the local art community.
“I have always kind of wanted to have a cooperative space to be able to work with other artists and you know, have a place to create and show our work,” says Kelsey Huckaby, founder and owner of Studio San Martian. “And just to be able to, you know, like have a thing you know, where we can have events, have art shows, and have fun and create community and a safe space.”
Studio San Martian’s location at 1904 Ranch Road 12 #108 is its third location, a much larger, customizable space than the previous two. The first Studio San Martian was opened in August 2018 near Gumby’s Pizza in a shared office space.
The studio hosts a variety of events including art classes, live music, open mic nights and tea sits. Huckaby says she and others at the studio find themselves saying “yes” to most of the people who reach out about using their space to host an event.
“We’re really big on promoting people’s positive self-expression,” Huckaby says. “You know, whether that be their music or food or art or, you know, jokes or whatever it may be.”
Jason Sherman, co-founder of Studio San Martian, says his favorite event is “Market Sundown”, an open mic night hosted every third Sunday which includes new performances and talent each time.
“You never know what to expect. Never know who’s gonna get up there. I know [I’ve gotten] goosebumps, like, three times for things. Like some people just bring the magic and you’re like, ‘Wow,'” Sherman says. “Like it’s special to think that like if we weren’t doing it, like that never would have happened. I never would have gotten to experience that person’s amazing song that they wrote.”
Upon moving to the new location last year, Sherman and Huckaby wanted to focus more on creating a versatile space to host events and classes rather than building a retail space as they had at previous locations. Unfortunately, once the two made their vision a reality, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
They were forced to close their doors and return deposits to those who had previously purchased tickets for canceled events. Once small businesses were allowed to open in Texas, the two began working on a return to some form of normalcy.
Huckaby was able to connect with some artists she collaborated with in the past, and they were able to get an outdoor stage built to continue hosting music events safely.
“A lot of the musicians were just itching; they’ve been writing music, they’ve been collaborating, you know, during this lockdown,” Sherman says. “So, it was actually like good timing to be able to offer outdoor stages and have a safe COVID friendly environment to showcase music, because we couldn’t really do indoor concerts like we were doing before.”
Huckaby, Sherman and Studio San Martian volunteers understand the importance of inclusion and support within the city’s local art community, whether it is music, dance, poetry, painting or other talents.
“They’re so accepting of every type of art,” says Mandi Miller, a volunteer art instructor at Studio San Martian. “I think, you know, being accepting of all types of stuff is awesome and beautiful. And I think a lot of people consider Studio San Martian a safe space…there are so many different events and niches, but they have a space for everyone.”
Aside from volunteering at Studio San Martian, Miller also does marketing work for the San Marcos Art League, an organization that strives to bring the arts to the community. She says she can see a difference between the two art scenes and that Studio San Martian has more of a “psychedelic vibe,” which she says represents a lot of San Martians.
“I think it’s just so important to be out there, you know, there’s so much of this life that is just like, we have to, you know, stick to a certain schedule, stick to a certain way of doing things,” Miller says. “But it’s just, it’s such a beautiful place with beautiful people and it might not be mainstream, but I think the counterculture that’s represented there is just so important for society.”
Huckaby says she hopes Studio San Martian acts as a symbol for inclusivity and support within both the local art community and those who feel they have missed out on what they are meant to do.
“I think it’s greater than just making art, you know, I think we’re meant to share those gifts with each other because that’s what makes everything work,” Huckaby says. “That’s the real stuff that’s really worth living for, isn’t it? Like the love of sharing, you know, the beauty of those talents with other people and just making everyone happy and all just celebrating each other and supporting each other.”
To learn more about Studio San Martian and keep up with its events, visit its websiteInstagram or Facebook page.

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  • A painting entitled ‘The Messenger’ by artist Elizabeth Banker hangs on the wall, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, at Studio San Martian.

  • A table of art pieces sits against a back wall, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, at Studio San Martian.

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