2017 Mermaid Honorees

Singer and song-writer Terri Hendrix was nominated as the 2017 Mermaid Queen. PHOTO COURTESY OF JULY MORENO

SMTX Mermaid SPLASH is a celebration of all things San Marcos. SPLASH stands for Stewardship, Preservation, Local, Sustainability and Heritage. SMTX Mermaid SPLASH, is an annual city-wide, multi-event festival, celebrating the city’s arts, culture, heritage and the spring-fed waters of the San Marcos River.  

The King of SPLASH and the Mermaid Queen are selected based on individuals who imbue the spirit of SMTX. These individuals would be defined to be supporters of a creative community and guardians of the river. These individuals are chosen by the Society Ball committee to represent the spirit of Mermaid Society SMTX.

Honorees are each selected by their peers who serve on the symposiums committees for river guardianship, arts and culture and entrepreneurship in small business.  

“The Mermaid festival serves as a creative platform to celebrate the accomplishments of each of the members of the Royal Court,” founder of Mermaid Society SMTX July Moreno said. “Each individual or organization selected is doing incredible work right here in our community and contributes to the vibrancy of our beloved city. By highlighting these honorees, we hope it will create greater awareness and increase opportunity for engagement.”

The community is invited to join the city celebration starting Sept. 2  and going all the way through Sept. 17.  For more information on each of the events planned, visit the Mermaid Society website at www.mermaidsocietysmtx.com. 

The title sponsor for this year’s SMTX Mermaid SPLASH is the Chuck Nash Auto Group.

Mermaid Queen: Terri Hendrix

Terri Hendrix is a pioneering independent Texas songwriter who spins sorrow into joy and wrings wisdom from the blues with a poetic grace and engaging melodic flair that has endeared her to three generations of loyal fans in Central Texas. 

A classically trained vocalist and accomplished multi-instrumentalist– guitar, mandolin and harmonica– she was recently recognized by Acoustic Guitar Magazine as one of Texas’ 20 essential contemporary singer-songwriters. She is also one of its most prolific songwriters, having averaged nearly an album a year going all the way back to her 1996 debut, “Two Dollar Shoes.” To date, every one of her albums has been released on her own Wilory Records label, making Hendrix the rare artist who has owned all of her master recordings from day one. That autonomy has allowed her the freedom to dodge musical pigeonholes her entire career by weaving folk, pop, country, blues and swinging jazz into an eclectic style all her own– a playful mix that makes for a highly energetic and spiritually uplifting live show in any setting, from intimate listening rooms and theaters to outdoor festivals. 

Along the way, she’s also co-written a Grammy-winning instrumentals– the Dixie Chicks’ “Lil’ Jack Slade”– and garnered such honors as a star on the South Texas Music Walk of Fame, the Art of Peace Award by Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio, the Distinguished Alumni Award at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene and a 2015 induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame in San Marcos. Now well into her third decade as a performing artist, Hendrix is currently in the midst of running a “sonic marathon” she calls “Project 5,” which by the time she finishes it will comprise four thematically-linked albums and a memoir. 

The first album, an intimate folk record called “Love You Strong” was released in February 2016. It was followed in October by “The Slaughterhouse Sessions,” a politically charged collection of acoustic gospel blues. The next two albums, an electronica EP called “Who Is Ann?” and an eclectic singer-songwriter full-length called “Talk to a Human,” are both due out in summer 2017. 

Last but not least will be the book, a deeply personal account of Hendrix’s lifelong battle with epilepsy and the path she’s braved to wellness. In addition to all of this and teaching workshops, Hendrix is also hard at work building a nonprofit creative center for the arts serving the greater San Marcos area and beyond. It’s called the OYOU, an acronym for “Own Your Own Universe”– words that this free-spirited, self-made woman has lived and thrived by her entire adult life.

King of SPLASH: Kyle Mylius

Kyle Myliuswas born and raised in Fort Worth, where he graduated from Richland High School. After attending multiple junior colleges he moved to San Marcos in 2000 to (almost) complete his degree in health and fitness management. That's when he fell in love with the magic that is San Marcos and knew that he had found his home. 

In 2005, at the age of 25 he opened a small cafe' serving breakfast and lunch called the Root Cellar. Today it has grown to become a dining destination for many locals and visitors alike serving three meals a day with locally sourced ingredients.

 In 2014, Mylius and Executive Chef Megan Turbeville opened the Root Cellar Bakery and Catering Co. across the street from the cafe'.  He and business partner Lindsey Belk took over the reigns of Rhea's Ice Cream from founder Rhea Ortamond two years ago and have just opened their second location in New Braunfels. He is also a proud partner of the beverage line Busy Bee Yerba Mate that he and partners started in 2013 and is now sold throughout the state.

Although Mylius has started many business, he is most proud of the beautiful family that he and his wife Alex Mylius have created. They now have four boys, and no they are not gonna go for the girl. Oldest son, Miles is 11, identical twins Eli and Jude are 6, and youngest Leon Marrs is 1. His time is now balanced between managing many ventures with amazing teams, coaching T-Ball and going to soccer practice. Sports have always been a passion for Kyle but  he now spends much of his free time playing the piano, organ and  accordion for his bands the Refrains and Pappy Hour. 

He has worked closely with the Hays County Food Bank over the years in developing programs such as Desserts for a Difference which donates a dollar from all desserts sold at the cafe' straight to the Food Bank. Mylius cares deeply for San Marcos and all of the people that now call it home.

Entrepreneurship Honoree: Carol Powers

Heartworks Co./Paper Bear has been a staple in the city since it opened in 1978 and Founder Carol Powers has prided herself in her company’s charity work, uniqueness and community engagement.

Paper Bear was started by Powers and her husband after she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. What started out as a shop with a few creative and whimsical odds and ends has grown into a “Texas sized gift shop.” Powers has created relationships with vendors foreign and domestic to bring in a variety of common and not-so-common inventory. Paper Bear sells everything from an eclectic assortment of kids toys like puppets, figurines, science kits and art supplies to hand-crafted artisan jewelry from Nepal, Taiwan, South America and all over the world. They also have an assortment of uncommon candies that will set your mouth to water.

Aside from the unique collection of goods that Paper Bear has to offer, they also donate back to their community through approximately 10 different charities annually. They have donated to charities ranging from hospital fundraisers where proceeds go towards helping sick children to sponsoring the local Chili Festival.

The shop is a favorite among those that visit and live in San Marcos. The heart and soul that goes into every item and every donation is why the Mermaid Society is pleased to honor Carol Powers for her entrepreneurship.

Arts Honoree: Linda Kelsey-Jones

The Mermaid Society is pleased to recognize Linda Kelsey-Jones as the Arts Honoree for her contributions to the vitality of the arts in San Marcos. For many years, it was almost certain that any event in the community in which art had a part – exhibits, art classes, displays – that Linda Kelsey-Jones was involved in some capacity. Even now, with an explosion in the visual arts in San Marcos, she remains involved in numerous projects and activities. A sampling of the many roles she has filled in San Marcos include:

  • Founder and curator of the Walkers’ Gallery at the San Marcos Activity Center, a role she has held since it opened 20 years ago.
  • Lecturer in the School of Art and Design at Texas State University, where she helps train future art educators.
  • Founder of Art Space, which offers art classes for youth after-school and during the summer, which art education majors help teach. Populations include adjudicated youth from the local shelter and children from the Boys and Girls Club. Art Space is currently housed at Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos.
  • Founder of the San Marcos Area Arts Council, whose mission is to encourage, support and promote the arts, specifically through programs such as Arts in Public Places, Arts in the Community and Arts in Education.
  • Founder of Youth Art Month in San Marcos.
  • Member of the Board of Directors for the Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos and curator of art exhibits at the facility.
  • Member of the Board of Directors for the Calaboose African-American History Museum and curator of art exhibits at the museum. 
  • Taught Kids Kollege, a summer art camp, for many years. This included the production of more than 200 4’x4’ panels painted by local children, which were hung on a long fence at a construction site at Texas State University for more than a year.
  • Original organizer of the LBJ/MLK Crossroads Memorial beginning in 2002 and culminating in the dedication of the memorial in 2014. 
  • Original curator of the Gallery of the Common Experience at Texas State University. In that capacity, she spearheaded major efforts to bring to campus and the community numerous national and international exhibits. 
  • Helped in the establishment of the first Texas State University Eddie Durham Festival and served as lead organizer for three community-based Eddie Durham Festivals, sponsored by the Calaboose.
  • Co-chaired Youth Festival with the Greater San Marcos Youth Council. With Texas State students and area artist facilitators, organized at least two dozen experiences in the visual, musical and performing arts for young people.

While best known for her community involvement in the arts, Kelsey-Jones is also an outstanding artist in her own right– a photographer, painter and photo-collage artist. The Mermaid Society is pleased to honor Linda Kelsey-Jones for her years of creativity, dedication and service to the community.

Heritage Honoree: Heritage Association

The women who founded the Heritage Association did not set out to save a town; they just wanted to save one significant structure. They knew that preserving the little rock house by the river– today's Charles S. Cock House Museum– was the right thing to do, so they created a home tour and secured grants to raise money, and save it they did. Along the way, the residents of San Marcos found themselves caught up in the wave of patriotic spirit surrounding the American Bicentennial. Volunteers initiated several other community projects, including the development of the San Marcos River Walk, and as a result, the town became one of the first seven cities in the nation to receive the Bicentennial City designation. 

To ensure continued support for the preservation of historic buildings, the celebration of local culture, and the perpetuation of traditions that beautify and enrich the community life of San Marcos, the Heritage Association was founded and chartered in 1975. 

Today, 42 years and hundreds of structures later, the same collective fervor that characterized the original founders drives a new generation of volunteers to promote those elements that make our town unique and give it value. 

Without the Heritage Association, today's San Marcos would lack much of its current charm. And with it, one of the fastest-growing cities in America is not just an exploding mass of chain stores and box apartments. It is a living monument to the beauty handed down to us by our ancestors. With one of the largest intact residential historic districts in the state, a thriving downtown and a fiercely protected sparkling river, we can be proud that this town has a heart like none other. ​​ 

River Guardianship Honoree: Stephen Ramirez

Stephen Ramirez is stewardship director for the Texas Land Conservancy and is a graduate from Texas State University with a B.S. in Geographic Information Science (GIS). He currently serves as board president for the San Marcos River Foundation and leads the monthly bird walk for the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance. Stephen also volunteers his GIS and mapping expertise to local water advocacy groups such as the Save Our Springs Alliance and Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association.

Stephen is passionate about protecting the Edwards Aquifer, its springs, rivers and endangered species. He is inspired by the crystal clear waters of the San Marcos River and fascinated by its endemic wildlife. In his free time he enjoys swimming and mountain unicycling with his dog, Sparrow.


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