After 25 years working as gallery director for others, Jacquie Hollis Martinez returned home to Buda to open her own. Assemblage Contemporary Craftsman Gallery, located in the Buda Mill and Grain complex at 306 S. Main, reflects the talent and skill Martinez developed while managing galleries in Santa Fe, Telluride, and Austin, as well as her connections to artists, artisans, and customers. With her natural eye for art, and passion for building collections, Martinez maintains an assemblage of pieces by fine artists and craftsmen so that customers can find a variety of mediums to suit an array of budgets and needs, from personally collecting to buying a handmade gift not found elsewhere. The gallery is a feast for the eyes—hanging art, both original and limited reproductions; pottery that is functional and decorative; contemporary as well as traditional southwestern jewelry; and assorted sculpture, décor, and textiles.
“I know the people (artists) and deal directly with them,” Martinez says of the living American artists represented in her gallery. She explained that they are working artists and craftsmen who need the money to continue doing what they love, building and producing their works. This is key to her as she curates their creations—making a difference. In getting ready for holiday season shopping, Martinez says she asks them, “What is your go-to gift for the holidays?” For the most part, except for a few recent COVID-related accessories, customers will not find mass produced items in the gallery.
Timing has worked well for Martinez. As a graduate of Texas State University in interior design, she quickly landed a gallery director’s job in Santa Fe. She later moved to Telluride, and finally ended up back in central Texas. With her credentials as a gallery director, she also worked as an art broker and consultant. When she realized the Buda Mill and Grain complex was in development, she invited her old high school friend, Theresa Jones, to return from artistic pursuits on the east coast to partner with her in establishing the Assemblage. As the gallery neared its recent third anniversary, Jones decided to relocate to New Mexico, and Martinez now is sole proprietor. Martinez said Buda is in the beginning stages of becoming recognized as a city for the arts in Texas. There has been strong community backing of the arts as evidenced by the opening of Inspired Minds Art Center, and the establishment of the Buda Area Artists Collective. “Art is getting a foothold in Buda, and only gaining momentum,” she said. “There is strength in numbers.”