Still searching for a few last-minute holiday gifts, but want to support local artisans while you're at it? Look no further than the Blue Genie Art Bazaar.
"It's better than Walgreens ... and it has a bar," says longtime seasonal employee Joseph Woullard, better known as the boisterous baritone sax player for Golden Dawn Arkestra, Hard Proof, Black Joe Lewis, and Cilantro Boombox.
Those words are true enough – you can grab an adult libation while you browse (coffee and other nonalcoholic beverages are also available) – but they vastly understate the convenience and staggering variety available at the North Central Austin market (6100 Airport), which since 2001 has offered free parking and admission to browse handmade goods from more than 200 vendors, plus live music pop-ups, kids' craft activities, and featured artist nights from Black Friday through Christmas Eve. "Snapshot" stopped by during the penultimate weekend to highlight a few favorites from among 54 new artists added this year.
The F Word Gift Shop, founded in 2017 by author/activist/feminist (the "F" word) Annie Anzaldua, offers a plethora of sociopolitically relevant T-shirts, pins, stickers, and greeting cards, with 15% of proceeds benefiting Planned Parenthood. Double down on your philanthropic donation by buying on Christmas Eve, this season's final Make-A-Wish Monday, wherein 10% of the bazaar's daily profits go to Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas.
The Monster Project invites elementary students (many from Austin, but spanning classrooms worldwide) to submit illustrations of monsters, which are hand-picked to be re-created by adult artists. Proceeds from individual prints and the comprehensive The Monster Project Art Book: Volume 01 further the goal of introducing "art as a legitimate career path."
Floating Forest Studio features prints and illustrations by Annie Lin, some of which manifest as enamel pins like this cheesy-yet-tasteful variation on classic Lone Star State imagery.
For lovers of animals and abstract art, check out the easy-to-hang wire sculptures by Rasor Made (brainchild of Maxwell True Rasor). These fall on the more expensive side, but they're well worth the price as no two creatures (which also include the occasional astronaut or skeleton) are identical.
Class up your home decor with the wide-ranging wares of Knotty Woodworx (by "retired surveyor-turned-woodworker" Troy Harrison). The hand-cut planters, serving trays, and cutting boards are choice gifts, but "Snapshot" contends that the magnetic bottle opener mounts are life-changing.
MC Shave Gear (by Monica Charles Designs) hawks various naturally made lotions, soaps, and beard care products for men, but their crown jewels – truly, one of the most stylish shave solutions "Snapshot" has ever seen – are these handcrafted razor sets. Merry Christmas ... to your face.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar is open daily from 10am-10pm and until 6pm on Christmas Eve. See more at austinchronicle.com/arts/snapshot. Want to pitch an event, happening, idea, or person for "Snapshot"? Email the author/photog: firstname.lastname@example.org.