SAN MARCOS, Texas -- Mermaids are an integral part of the San Marcos culture. The historical "merfolk" swimming and protecting the San Marcos River have now made their mark on land. The San Marcos Arts Commission placed ten 7-foot-tall mermaids around the city in what's been dubbed the “Mermaid March.”
It’s a permanent, public art project, and the purpose is to celebrate the long history and culture of the city. It will also help develop San Marcos as a tourist destination, and show off the talent within the city’s artist community.
"There's not a whole lot out there that hasn't already been done in another city. And we thought this would really be an interesting conversation starter. People in the middle of Central Texas, what are you doing with mermaids here? So, it leads to a great conversation starter for our tourists," said former Arts Commission chair and Executive Director of The Price Center, Clay DeStefano.
The hope is to increase tourism for the city using these 7-foot-tall statues that are paid for by hotel occupancy tax dollars.
"By law, a portion of these dollars have to be spent on arts and culture and so when we can make the arts and culture a destination that draws more tourism potentially, it's really this beautiful little full circle," DeStefano said.
Artists were selected after a public art call last year, and after a long road, San Marcos can finally seeing their hard work pay off around the city. The Arts Commission will make sure these original 10 are up for at least two years.
"It's everyone and every age - it's young, it's old, it's women, it's men. Who doesn't love a mermaid, it turns out? Very few people. So it's kind of a home run," DeStefano said.
The future goal for these statues is to eventually have dozens sponsored by businesses, thus driving up even more of an economic boom from these ever-so-popular mermaid statues.
- Visitor Center/ Discovery Center: “Ode to Ralph” by Cheryl Latimer
- San Marcos Activity Center: “Aqua Reina” by Jamie Lynn Shelton
- Plaza Park: “Before Us” by Dianna Weems
- Hutchinson St. in front of Texas Skate Shop: “Mermaid Playground” by Malachy McKinney
- Hutchinson St. in front of Minute Man: “Liquid Metal” by Darin Woods
- Guadalupe/Hopkins St.: “Oh For a Muse of Fire” by April Laymen
- Price Center: “Flora” by Morgan Egan
- Eddie Durham Park: “Mermaid Map” by Grace Park
- MLK/Guadalupe St.: “The Fish of the San Marcos Waterways” by Doug Hiser
- Children’s Park: “Blooming Brightly” by Lauren Hofmann