Terri Hendrix’s 20-year music career has included multiple trips throughout the world, a Grammy Award and more than a dozen albums, but for her next act, the celebrated folk artist is planning to build a community arts center in San Marcos.
The idea for the Own Your Own Universe center came to Hendrix while on tour in 2003. She was playing shows in venues that were as much about music as they were about community outreach, and she longed to build something similar in San Marcos, the city she has called home for more than two decades.
For all of San Marcos’ musical history—venues such as Cheatham Street Warehouse and Triple Crown have provided springboards for national and regional acts alike—the city lacks a space where music is primarily used for community outreach.
To make her dream a reality, Hendrix began a campaign to raise $500,000 to build a venue where people of all ages and physical and mental abilities can gather to enjoy performances, songwriting workshops and the healing power of music.
“It’s going to be a place where people have a great cup of coffee and hopefully write songs,” Hendrix said. “It’s going to be about the songs, not about staying open til 2 a.m.”
Hendrix said she is hoping to leverage her national notoriety to bolster the OYOU center’s programs.
“When I release a new record I sell as many records in Pennsylvania and California as I do in Texas, even though I’m from Texas,” Hendrix said. “So it’s my hope as well to have these people from out of state come in and do things at the art center and bring tourism here.”
Hendrix received word from the IRS that her application for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status had been approved in early 2013, and now she is in the early stages of fundraising for the building.
While the fundraising is happening, Hendrix is taking her show on the road, providing music therapy for audiences in Texas and beyond. Hendrix’s mission to help people through music has taken her throughout the nation.
In Port Aransas, Hendrix has worked at the songwriting workshop Life’s A Song, guiding aspiring musicians through the creative process. Two girls with autism have been regular attendees at the workshop for the past few years, Hendrix said. When Hendrix told them about her plans to build a center in San Marcos to support her outreach efforts, the girls responded by donating their chore money to help with the building’s construction.
“To see them evolving because of music and having higher self-esteem because of music is really special,” Hendrix said. “They’re in their teens now, having autism. Venturing into high school, they have music and it will put them in a different place among their peers.”
Lloyd Maines, one of Hendrix’s longtime collaborators, said his colleague’s mission is to make the world a better place, and the Own Your Own Universe center figures greatly into that equation.
“I think she wants to do something that matters a little more [than performing],” Maines said. “Touring is great, but it’s kind of a ‘self’ thing. I think she wants to do something for the greater good.”
For Hendrix, the center and her music career are intertwined
“The center is a place to put down roots, a place to take all the different things I’ve learned and put them in one spot,” Hendrix said. “Anything that is worth doing, you have to put a lot of effort in it. It’s going to take a lot of man hours—or woman hours—to get anything off the ground. I knew what I was signing up for, though.”