AUSTIN (KXAN) — The pandemic is forcing many to make adjustments to holiday traditions this year, and what would have been the 45th straight year of Austin’s Armadillo Bazaar is no exception.
Organizers announced in October that they were cancelling this year’s in-person shopping event.
However, a concierge website has been set up in its place.
“The artists are really having a tough year. They do in person events all year long festivals and markets. And they’ve done zero,” said Armadillo Bazaar Producer Anne Johnson of 2020. “We knew we needed to create something to help them out and to help our customers, you know, looking, for these people and they don’t know where to find them because they usually get to come in and walk around to browse.”
The Armadillo Bazaar Art Concierge site allows shoppers to find all of the artists who had booths at the bazaar last year and many others from years past.
Shoppers can search by artist or what kind of piece they’re looking for. They can also view maps from past events which can help shoppers find the artist they’re looking for if they only remember the location of the booth.
Anyone who still needs help can message the site’s concierge team directly.
“Our hope is that you will find either who exactly you’re looking for in that way, or somebody new that you want to purchase from,” Johnson said, adding that 100% of sales will go directly to the artists.
Central Texas artist Daryl Howard says the virtual bazaar is a godsend, because a nearly a third or even half of her annual sales come from the Armadillo Bazaar.
“I’ve got clients that literally only see my work at the Armadillo,” Howard said. “Could they come to any other show that I do? Absolutely. There’s something about the joy, the music, being able to dance in the aisle and having a dialogue with the artists that you’re going to purchase art from.”
While it won’t be exactly the same, Howard hopes the virtual experience will still encourage Central Texans to shop locally this holiday season and help support her struggling sector.
“You know, I’m not begging, but I’m saying that I’m like everyone else. My income is zip, and, you know, we all still have bills to pay,” she said.