Shop, drink and be merry

Blue Genie offers a festive way to buy gifts while supporting local artists

Dana Younger and four other co-founders started the Blue Genie Art Bazaar in late 2001 after someone suggested they hold an annual Christmas show.

That first year, Younger said, he was shocked to see so many people come out and support Austin artists. Since then, the show has continued running and has seen constant growth as it has built strong bonds within the community.

“People really look forward to supporting their local art community by buying holiday gifts here,” Younger said.

The show, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. now through Christmas Eve (show closes at 6 p.m. that day), has become a holiday tradition for both artists and Austinites seeking unique, one-of-a-kind gifts. Unlike past years, when Blue Genie was held at Marchesa Hall and Theatre, this year it opens in a new location at 6100 Airport Blvd.

Younger said the new location was necessary because the event had outgrown the old space. He said he and his team took a “leap of faith” on this venue and have dedicated a great deal of time to getting it ready.

“We’ve worked very hard to make sure it feels like the Blue Genie Art Bazaar that everyone knows and loves,” Younger said.

For many artists — this year 210 artists will participate — the bazaar offers an incredible opportunity to reach larger audiences.

The application process for the show opens in the summer and lasts for three months. Younger said any type of artwork is accepted; the only requirement is that it is hand-crafted. No resale items are allowed.

Blue Genie looks for unique, beautiful and unusual items when assessing each application. Younger stressed the importance of quality and added that Blue Genie’s goal is to have a range of items that are accessible for every budget.

“We have artists that sell paintings that are worth thousands of dollars,” Younger said. “But we also have artists that are selling a bar of soap or a candle for $5.”

Some other items to expect at the show: photography, woodwork, sculptures, handbags, wallets, jewelry, greeting cards and stickers.

“You can get a new piece of art to decorate your house or stocking stuffers for everybody at your workplace,” Younger said.

Younger said he has the local community to thank for the success of the show. He said starting up this showcase was a risk, but he now sees what he and his team are doing as an important part of the community.

“It’s a privilege for us to get to sit at this confluence of art and commerce and community,” Younger said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Austin360

Five fall music festivals in Austin (that aren’t ACL Fest)
Five fall music festivals in Austin (that aren’t ACL Fest)

Like fall temperatures, fall music festival season comes later to Austin than it does to much of the country. The big behemoth, Austin City Limits Festival, featuring Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper and Red Hot Chili Peppers is set for  Oct. 6-9 and 13-15 at Zilker Park. Sound on Sound Festival, the indie shindig...
Where to celebrate PRIDE in Austin
Where to celebrate PRIDE in Austin

While most of the world celebrates LGBT pride in June, Austin celebrates it in August. The Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation (AGLPF) hosts Austin PRIDE for a week in August, culminating in a huge parade and celebration, which falls on Aug. 26 this year. Here’s a full rundown of official PRIDE and PRIDE-adjacent events this week. ...
Celebrate your pooch at these National Dog Day events in Austin
Celebrate your pooch at these National Dog Day events in Austin

Austin has already proven to be a super dog-friendly city, but many local dining spots, breweries and rescue organizations are taking their puppy love up a notch on Saturday — National Dog Day.  Here are the places in town with events that you and your favorite furry friend(s) can choose from to celebrate their special existence...
Weekend music picks: A pony on a boat or a Giant Dog?
Weekend music picks: A pony on a boat or a Giant Dog?

OUR TOP PICKS [youtube=] Friday: Jenni Finlay Promotions’ 11th anniversary at Threadgill’s South. Finlay, daughter of the late songwriting mentor Kent Finlay of San Marcos, manages Austin troubadour James McMurtry, so it’s no surprise to see both him and...
Who were this summer movie season’s winners and losers?
Who were this summer movie season’s winners and losers?

As the summer movie season draws to a close, we take a look at who did well and who didn’t, who will have sequels and who will get cut off (if not sent to movie jail for a spell), which were the sleeper hits and which were the megabombs. If we the people continue to see these things at the rate we seem to be seeing them, we will be watching superhero...
More Stories