Celebrating its 14th year, the Blue Genie Art Bazaar is bigger than ever, even adding an additional room to accommodate the overflow. But size isn’t the only way the show has evolved over the years. This season, the bazaar will also offer loads of entertainment with movie screenings from the Austin Film Society, Artists Socials every Tuesday night where customers can meet select artists and discuss their work, as well as Make-A-Wish-Mondays when 10% of the night’s profits are donated to Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & South Texas.
What was once a modest collection of artists and their work, has grown into an Austin holiday tradition beyond anyone’s expectations. Born from parent company Blue Genie Art Industries, the first show in 2001 featured mostly items made by Blue Genie employees. “In the beginning we didn't have staff, cash registers, advertising or much of anything that makes a business function,” says Dana Younger, one of Blue Genie’s founding members. “We did have a vision and lots of energy. We're grateful that those things have stuck with us and helped make the show we have now.”
So many of Blue Genie’s loyal patrons have been attending each year since the show’s more humble beginnings and, like many Austinites, yearn for the old days. “A lot of folks tell me they miss the show that was at our warehouse on Springdale. We're nostalgic for that time too. The sense of adventure our intrepid customers felt venturing into deep East Austin, parking in a dark, dusty lot behind a Goodwill and entering a funky wonderland of creativity would be hard to recreate today,” Younger says. While memories of the old Austin are often seen through rose colored (and dust covered) glasses, Blue Genie tries to uphold their original ideals while evolving with a growing community. “So much has changed in our town and we don't miss the dust,” Younger adds. “But, we do strive to bring that thrill of entering a wonderland, even if the parking lot is well lit and paved.”