What started as a holiday pop-up project in 2000 has grown to become a holiday staple for thousands of locals each year thanks to the opening of Blue Genie Art Bazaar by co-founders and friends Dana Younger, Kevin Collins, Chris Coakley and Rory Skagen.

How it started

Younger said the idea came to the group in 1999.

“[Collins] and I had a business in South Austin called Black Mountain Art,” Younger said. “We made plaster gargoyles and sold them at outdoor festivals. We became exhausted with sitting at fairs and swore if we ever put on a show of our own, we would not have artists sitting in booths.”

A year later, the group introduced their first bazaar, which featured about 15 artisans offering original artworks and handmade gifts. Younger said they kept their word, formatting Blue Genie in a way that does not require artists to attend booths.

Since then, hundreds of artists have been featured each season, he said.

How it’s going

The bazaar, which is free to attend, will open for the holiday season Nov. 17-Dec. 24 each day for in-person shopping. Online shopping, introduced during the pandemic, is also available. Additionally, the bazaar will open in the spring for its annual May Market, which runs on the weekends.

This year, the team will offer seasonally relevant art and gifts on the website, starting with Halloween, Younger said.

“We started this business for fun,” Younger said. “The bazaar gives Austinites a chance to proudly share a small slice of our culture with their friends and loved ones. It is a privilege for us to host this, and we love it.”