CLEVELAND, Ohio - There is nothing bizarre about the Cleveland Bazaar and with events happening during the next two weekends, the vendors and artists involved with the long running art and craft show aim to create some holiday fun and make gift shopping a breeze.
Cleveland Bazaar hosts events throughout the year. This Saturday's show on December 2 is the Cleveland Bazaar at Lake Affect Studios on East 25th Street in Cleveland. There will be about 60 local artists and makers.
The following weekend, December 9 and 10, things wrap up for the year with their grand event called Cleveland Bazaar Holiday! The 78th Street Studios will fill with 150 artists and vendors for that busy weekend. This is one of the largest holiday season events and a good reason to visit the bustling Gordon Square Arts District.
Each show will feature works in jewelry, home goods and decor, creative food items, bath and skincare, apparel, things for the kids and pets, accessories, fiber art, ceramics, glass, paper, prints, cards, books, art dolls, sculptures, hanging art and more.
Cleveland Bazaar was known in its first seasons as Bazaar Bizarre when it was started in Boston in 2001 by a group of friends and makers who were looking for a better way to represent their alternative art and style because they weren't feeling existing events represented them well.
Cleveland Bazaar founder Shannon Okey who is a fiber artists and author, was living in Boston during those first seasons of Bazaar Bizarre and when she returned to Cleveland in 2004 she asked if she could bring the idea with her and start something here.
The first Bazaar Bizarre Cleveland occurred in December 2004 at the 78th Street Studios which at the time was called 1300 Gallery. About 15 artists and makers participated. Both the event and the location have undergone name changes and today Cleveland Bazaar is able to host events at the 78th Street Studios and in locations throughout the city year long.
After thirteen successful years, Bazaar now hosts several events throughout the year including a Valentine show, twice monthly fairs across from the West Side Market at Market Square Park in the summer months and at Star Plaza in Playhouse Square, to name a few. They just wrapped up another year of participation in Winterfest at Public Square bringing more than 75 vendors to the 5th Street Arcade last weekend. As eclectic and unique art and craft shows go, Cleveland Bazaar ranks as one of Northeast Ohio's longest running independent art shows.
Bazaar was one of the first indie craft shows to come to this area and the idea has launched other local shows like Crafty Mart in Akron and Oddmall. Northeast Ohio has a deep well of art and craft talent and as the maker community grows, so does the mission of Cleveland Bazaar. "Bazaar has always encouraged community over competition," says Okey. "The Bazaar vendor family know they can trust each other to give good advice as so many of them are solo entrepreneurs."
An example, in 2016, with the help of Legacy Village and Sutton Developers some Bazaar vendors were able to test out what having their own storefront would look and feel like. It was called Bazaar's Retail Lab. Throughout that summer, vendors set up a space in Legacy Village for a week or more so that they could test the waters before the pressure of signing a one year lease.
Bazaar has done several pop-ups throughout the city and for special events like the Gay Games. They also created a multi-vendor shop in Tremont that year for the holidays. With the help of this learning process several Bazaar vendors have gone on to open successful brick and mortar storefronts. "Cleveland Clothing Co. who got their start at Bazaar nine years ago, Tidal Cool and Oceanne have all opened stores in the city," says Okey.
Cleveland Bazaar events would not happen without the hard work and dedication of Okey who spends much of her time helping others create a sustainable business for themselves. "It's not about me. Bazaar is about the makers. If I can help them push their businesses forward, that's what makes me happy."
Lake Affect Details:
Where: Lake Affect Studios at 1615 East 25th Street, Cleveland
When: Saturday, December 2, 2017
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Link: See the Cleveland Bazaar website at clevelandbazaar.org and on Instagram @clebazaar for up-to-date details and on the Cleveland Bazaar Facebook page.
Cleveland bazaar Holiday! Details:
Where: 78th Street Studios at 1300 West 78th Street, Cleveland
When: Saturday and Sunday, December 9-10, 2017
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Links: See the Cleveland Bazaar website at clevelandbazaar.org and on Instagram @clebazaar and on the Cleveland Bazaar Facebook page....Read more