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Arts Eclectic turns the spotlight on happenings in the arts and culture scene in and around the Austin area. Through interviews with local musicians, dancers, singers, and artists, Arts Eclectic aims to bring locals to the forefront and highlight community cultural events.Support for Arts Eclectic comes from Broadway Bank and Rock n Roll Rentals.

'It was truly amazing': San Marcos and Taylor both host studios tours in April

Annual studio tours have been a part of the Austin art scene for years, allowing art fans and patrons to travel from studio to studio, seeing both art and the spaces in which local artists work. And more recently, some of the smaller cities in the greater Austin area have been creating studio tours of their own.

Last year, 35 miles or so south on I-35, Mothership Studios created the first-ever San Marcos Studio Tour, and the reaction was greater than expected. “It was overwhelming,” says Jacqueline Overby, the director of both Mothership Studios and the San Marcos Studio Tour. “It was truly amazing. The opening night, I think we had at least 500 people in our gallery. It was amazing to see something that we had built from the ground up just filled to the brim with bodies, and everybody's smiling and in awe. And I think it was a really unique experience for everybody in San Marcus. You know, there haven't been any big art events like that, that united the community. And over the course of the weekend, we had over 3000 people come from out of town and in town and just like going around the whole map tour.”

After last year’s successful inaugural event, Mothership is getting ready for a second tour this April. “We're a little bit bigger this year,” Overby says. “And we've done a few things differently. We added a whole section on our application for events and we're really encouraging people to do demos at their studio, to do parties afterwards, music shows – all sorts of activations. And we have a lot more local business sponsors this year. So we have, I think, just about like 85 [or] 88 stops on our tour. Last year we had 67. So I think it's like a good natural growth, you know? There's [also] a project that one of our team members, Alicia Philley, is working on with some of these other artists that she knows, Topher Sipes and Jasna Boudard. And they are going to be putting together a light projection mapping collaboration between their work, which is video production, and [Alicia’s] sculptures. And so she's gonna be doing sort of like a public art activation that's gonna be for the city and for the eclipse. But it's going to be on display during the tour.”

In the other direction, 35 miles or so northeast of Austin, Taylor is getting ready to launch its first-ever studio tour the very same weekend, organized by Cindy Chapter. “I feel like the momentum is just gathering,” she says. “I keep having people just pop out of nowhere and be like, how can I help? You know, can I still join? And it's been a really good surprise to have so many people step up to wanna be involved.”

Chapter says the idea to create a studio tour for Taylor came up pretty naturally. “I think it was sometime late December or early January,” she says. “I was talking to Alyse [Mervosh] from Curio Mrvosa bookstore and saying that I really wished that there was an art studio tour for around here because there's so many cool artists. And she said, ‘Yeah, that would be really great.’ And I said, ‘You know, when people say that they wish something existed, somebody just needs to do it. Maybe I should just do it.’ So I decided to try it.”

The hope for this inaugural tour is that it’ll be, like Taylor itself, a little more laidback and less densely packed compared to Austin. “I'm hoping it's like a much calmer version of the East Austin Studio Tour,” she says, “where [people] can actually get to see all of the different places. I'm hoping people can stop in like at the [Texas] Beer Co and grab something to drink and then just wander through downtown and enjoy the town. I think I'm most excited about everybody seeing the [McCrory Timmerman] Gallery, because that's going to show all of our artists. All of our artists are going to have between one and three pieces in the gallery in the main downtown building. And then people can walk around and see which ones they like and pick what stop to go to from there.”

Chapter says she wanted to start the tour to highlight the many artists working in Taylor, but was then surprised to learn that there were even more artists locally than she realized. “There's people that I didn't even know were here that just aren't super meshed in,” she says. “But then I've been meeting them, other artists are bringing them and saying, oh, you might not have met this person. I was really excited to hear that there was a lot more artists than I thought there were around town.

Even while organizing this first tour, Chapter says she’s got eyes on the 2025 iteration. “It's definitely the first but not the last,” she says.

Both the San Marcos and Taylor Studio Tours will happen during the weekend of April 6 and 7 (with San Marcos hosting an opening party on Friday April 5).


Mike is the production director at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces Arts Eclectic, Get Involved, and the Sonic ID project, and also produces videos and cartoons for When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.
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