If you’re planning to make a year-end gift to a local charity, a gift to the Price Center is a great way to give back to the entire community. Since the early 2000s, the Center has been serving as a low-cost, no-cost community events and activity center that is continuing its transformation into a major downwton hub for public and private events focused on celebrating the cultural and performing arts of San Marcos and beyond. Your gift can help sustain opertations, repair equipment, and/or help underwrite any number of the Center’s free programs, including the various dance classes offered each week, the Third Thursday musical performances, and now, entertainment for the new monthly San Mercado.
“Selfless gifts of time and money have been at the heart of the Price Center’s operation since its inception,” said Clay DeStefano, executive director. “From the intial donation of the building nearly 20 years ago to almost $1 million in donated services, goods, furnishings and time since, today’s Price Center only exisits because of the kindness and volunteer efforts of others.”
The Greater San Marcos Area Seniors Association, Inc. (GSMASA) is a 501 (c) 3 that prides itself on meeting a variety of needs of an ever expanding audience of community members young and old, near and far through their unique Center. Daily and weekly classes and monthly activities are offered in the Center’s historic 1910 Room, 1893 Chapel, Multi-Purpose Room, and Garden, and each of the same venues also provides the community with an affordable and accessable event center to host its private and public events in downtown San Marcos.
Over the past 36 months the Center has seen a 2000% + increase in visitors and become a mainstay of the growing cultural and performing arts scene in San Marcos. Local cultural and performing artists now regularly gather, create and/or showcase their works and talents and, in many cases are starting to receive income from it.
This past year, the San Marcos Arts Commission installed one of its ten mermaid sculptures in the Center’s garden and local access to free concerts and free or low-cost film showings grew tremendously as well. Several new creative and affordable workshops, including calligraphy, basket weaving, and book-binding were added this year. The Center also recently served as a kid-friendly haunted house during Main Street’s downtown trick-or-treating and as the main site for the San Marcos Cinema Club’s second annual Lost River Film Festival.
The Center’s holiday line-up for this year includes more free daily access to new art shows, and a chance to see one of downtown San Marcos’ best holiday decorating displays daily via multiple rooms, themes and lots of unique, handmade decorations. In addition, free pop-up art events and two affordable ticketed offerings – “A Zany Merry Christmas,” and “A Lone Star Christmas Carol” – provide family-friendly ways to celebrate the season.
“All of our growth is invigorating and a bit overwhelming,” adds DeStefano. “The increased traffic has added to our already high costs of operating, maintaining and repairing the Center, which includes two former sanctuaries -- both over 100 years old.”
The entire community has benefited equally through expanding and ongoing access to free and/or low-cost culturally diverse and personally enriching activities at the Price Center. As a non-profit, the Center funds its operation through annual dues from members of the GSMASA, private donations, grants, and revenues generated from the rental of various venues by private individuals, businesses and organizations.
Today, thanks to a growing number of local partners, including private donors, the City of San Marcos, the San Marcos Arts Commission, Hays County, the San Marcos Art League, Main Street, the Downtown Association, the San Marcos Cinema Club who are each helping to fund and/or expand the Center’s efforts, the operation is considerably closer to eliminating its annual budget shortfall.
Images included in this article -- top to bottom are: A SMICSD student explains an artwork to a visitor during a recent Third Thursday; Price Time Dancers now dance 9 times a week; 5th Grade girls from Hernandez Elementary enjoy a formal luncheon to learn proper etiquette; an example of calligraphy and illumination from a workshop held earlier this year.
If you’re considering a year-end donation to a local non-profit or charity, the Price Center wants to remind you that no gift is too small or too large and any gift gives back to the San Marcos community directly. Potential donors are encouraged to check with their tax specialist regarding deducting a donation. Learn more by visiting price-center.org, and clicking on “How You Can Help,” then use the “Donate” button to make your contribution. You may also drop off or mail a check made out to Price Center to 222 W. San Antonio St., San Marcos, TX 78666.