Additional murals could enhance campus atmosphere


Photo credit: Jaden Edison

Elisabeth Harper

Scattered across San Marcos are subtle, yet charming artistic creations everywhere. Murals appear outside car windows along busy streets; mosaics line the San Marcos River; large eclectically painted mermaids swim through the air at local parks.

An extra observant eye may catch a glimpse of the masterpieces residing on the small, inconspicuous street corners. The abundance of creative minds within the city are hardly underrepresented in the quirky town. With a robust population comprised of its own visual artists, Texas State should strive to sever any disconnect between the academic and personal world by incorporating local art initiatives into its educational experience.

In other words, Texas State officials should start implementing student-led murals.

The City of San Marcos pays special attention to ensure its artistic population feels represented. A number of local San Marcos virtuosos are able to bleed their craft into the public sphere through murals that can be seen across town.

The “Dive into the Divine” mural outside of Root Cellar on The Square was completed in 2016 through a co-op between designer Morgan Haberle Egan and local muralist Jana Swec. “The Locals” mural next to Rio Vista—created by local artist Buddy Pejak—was completed in 2017. “The Dude,” by artist Ramon Alvarez, sits comfortably in San Marcos’ Graffiti Alley downtown. The aesthetically alluring town beautifies the city and unites the population through common cultural themes like community and environmental conservation.

Texas State, with a massive student population of over 38,000, is one sector of the city lagging behind when it comes to representing its artist population.

Right outside of the Texas State Paws N’ Go—an on-campus convenience store—has emerged an explosion of color and asymmetry through the form of an abstract art mural. While this campus mural has succeeded in drawing the delighted gaze of students and faculty, the piece still seems to lack the character of its local counterparts; the artist is obscured.

Rene Perez, whose anthropomorphic paintings can be found along city streets and local businesses, is one of the more well-known community artists. His pieces receive recognition solely because his name is behind them; he is a local. Perez walks along the same streets and can occasionally be spotted at the Art Squared Arts Market every second Saturday of the month that occurs in the center of town.

With figures like Perez hovering outside campus premises, it seems silly the university is not doing more to involve its younger demographic in the community art outlets while mimicking similar endeavors on its own grounds.

Freshman art students Maddison Laurento and Blake Wadley declined having much of a relationship with local San Marcos artists, despite their similar ambitions. A way Texas State could aid amateur artists in the ultimate task of exposure is through a joint operation with artists around the area.

“It would be really cool for students to have a chance to get their art out there and recognized,” Wadley said. “I think any student would be eager to have that experience.”

While supporting the nascent artists of Texas State, a project like campus murals could be another form of unification between San Marcos student and non-student residents. With diversity and inclusivity acting as core values, there is no good reason to neglect the student population because the community has an abundance of like-minded people. If anything, such minds should be exploited in the promotion of the very things that are widely admired in the atmosphere of the beloved San Marcos.

Elisabeth Harper is a wildlife biology sophomore

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