Blue Genie Art–created when Kevin Collins, Chris Coakley, Rory Skagen, and Dana Younger merged Black Mountain Art and Skagen Art–has a long history of putting on impressive shows. We’ve had SXSW aftershows featuring celebrated bands like Toots and the Maytals and Citizen Cope. We’ve angered our local fire marshal with epic underground parties, notably our Halloween Night Gallery with Kenny Rogers’s Maze of Horrors. Of course, our many successes have come with a few inevitable disasters, such as the Foam Party, after which the shop reeked of piña coladas for three months.
These parties have come and gone, but the Blue Genie Art Bazaar remains–a celebrated tradition, a beacon among art events, a tried-and-true fixture of Austin’s holiday scene. This year marks a decade since Charles Randolph, a former Blue Genie Art employee, suggested that we put together a Christmas show. Without putting much thought into it, we built a few walls, hung up some clip lights, and swept the floor–and then we opened the doors. That first weekend, spent in a flurry of scribbling sales purchases into notebooks, made it clear that we had something exciting on our hands.
We’ve spent ten years refining the bazaar, and we’re quite proud of what it has grown into. At our first bazaar, we sold mostly items made by Blue Genie employees. Now, we feature the handmade, unique work of over 130 artists, whom we select from a talented pool of more than 300 applicants. Some of these artists–Chia, Sweettooth, Arnston Design–have been around since the beginning, while others are impressive local up-and-comers.
The bazaar requires a lot of collaboration to come together every year. We’re grateful to past employees and to the dedicated team working for us now: Dan, Ryan, Josh, Jaden, Joseph, Pat, and a posse of fierce-fighting, hard-talking interns. We’re grateful to our talented, creative, cooperative artists. And we’re endlessly grateful to our patrons and to the Austin art community–we appreciate you, we thank you for ten great years, and we look forward to many more!