Annual Mars Arts Festival celebrates all things art and music in San Marcos – University Star

Printed fabrics and disco balls line vendor booths, live painters apply colorful neon paint to canvases, and local bands and musicians perform at the seventh annual Mars Arts Festival this weekend.

this Mars Arts Festival is an annual arts festival hosted by Apogee Presents, with approximately 40 bands performing on two stages from September 21st to 23rd.This year’s festival includes a silent disco, art installations, live painters, vendors, workshops and camping at South Star Farm3,000+square feet Space for events in San Marcos.

“We call it the Mars Arts Festival because we want to highlight the artistic side of our community,” said Mars Arts Festival founder Michael Howard, a Texas State University alumnus. “I never want to just focus on the music. I try to incorporate all aspects of art into it, whether it’s vendors, artisans, live painters, glassblowers, everything like that.

In 2016, Howard hosted the first Mars Art Festival in a local backyard.

“The word Apogee means reaching your highest point, your climax,” Howard said. “Apogee, as we like to say, represents the pinnacle of the community. So we try to bring in the live music scene, the electronic music scene, the artists — every asset and every aspect of the community.

The annual event was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic but resumed last year on its original schedule. Howard said that while they approached different collaborators from outside the local area, the core of the event was to highlight local talent.

Erica Simmons, executive director of Planet South Farms, is originally from Dallas but now lives in San Marcos. Simmons said when planning an event, she strives to make it personable.

“We want every experience to be unique, and we want it to be customized to each individual’s needs,” Simmons said. “It’s definitely the attempt and the goal to make each event as successful as possible in that person’s eyes and that person’s perspective.”

Simmons said she met her husband at a festival and she went to many festivals over the years.

“It has a very San Marcos vibe,” Simmons said. “It feels like a local in San Marcos. It feels like local art in San Marcos. It feels like the people here are genuine, kind, open, and engaging. That’s one thing I love about San Marcos.

Festival Gallery Coordinator Will Ross did some live painting during the event and helped place artwork on the various art installation walls in preparation for the weekend.

Ross said he wanted a natural, organic feel on one wall, while the other wanted a more psychedelic feel. A projector is located on the center wall of the gallery, using projection mapping and light form technology to scan the artwork and create visual effects on the artwork.

Local photographer Christopher Paul Cardoza has been attending and documenting the Mars Art Festival since its first year and has witnessed the evolution and changes that have occurred over the years.

Cardoza said he has continued to grow in size and ambition since that first year.

“That’s why I cover it,” Cardoza said. “because [Howard] Trying to stay true to the essence of San Marcos: art, music, community. It’s that simple. I just love them and believe in their vision.

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