SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — While taking a walk one day in this coastal city, an artist who goes by Hamsa, came across an art festival led by a local nonprofit organization.

This fateful encounter led her to become an artist in Art Business Incubator South Padre Island’s (ABI SPI) Art Residency Program this year and have a place to showcase her talents in the area.

Hamsa is a mixed-media artist originally from Minnesota, and has been visiting South Padre Island for almost 20 years before moving to the area.

ABI SPI helps artists with aspirations to own and operate their own art-related business on the Island. Each year, the program accepts about five to six applicants.

“I’m really grateful for this program, the people of South Padre Island and visitors for how well they’ve engaged with the art and responded to my paintings and to the other artists,” Hamsa said. “It’s been really encouraging and awesome to have their support.”

In this Art Residency Program, Hamsa has wanted to focus on marine life for her artwork.

She has created two series of work that’s inspired by this coastal area — “Sea Life” and “Bird’s Eye View.”

Sea Life involves bright contrasting colors that create movement and Bird’s Eye View is described as having more subdued colors and stillness.

In addition to Hamsa’s series, she is in the process of making new original works and also creates commissioned pieces for clients across the country.

“People can order prints of works I’ve already done and commission pieces,” Hamsa said. “Oftentimes, people will walk in the gallery or they’ll contact me on social media. I’m in the process of putting up a new website and that will be another avenue people can contact me on.”

For Hamsa, the experience she’s gaining from the program has been a huge turning point for her because she was trying to figure out if she could jump from her full-time career in social work to being a full-time artist.

“I’ve always been told that you should own your own gallery if you’re an artist and be in a tourist place where the clients come to you so you’re not having to constantly turn over your inventory,” Hamsa said. “This was a way to try that out and see if I could do art here and if it would sell. I just feel really well received.”

Hamsa plans to open a business on the Island called Art Lounge that will be a fine arts gallery, as well as a place where people can take classes and participate in a craft club.

“I really want it to be this creative gathering space so there might be writers’ retreats and I’m hoping there’s going to be salsa dancing and yoga,” Hamsa said. “People can really use the space to gather and do anything that’s creative or for their well-being.”

Hamsa also hopes to open a gift shop on the Island that focuses on art and unique gifts of all different price points.

Advice Hamsa would give aspiring artists is to reach out to somebody that mentors or supports their art.

“Artists really hear over and over again that they can’t make it as an artist and it’s really not true,” she said. “You can make it as an artist. You will start to make connections and it will start to happen.”

For more information about ABI SPI or to apply to the program, visit or call (956) 433-8097.

View Hamsa’s artwork:


FACEBOOK: @HamsaArtist7

INSTAGRAM: @HamsaArtist