Local Bazaar hits State Street to feature local artists, vintage wear

Todd Needle/Daily
Local Bazaar founder Lindsey Leyland tends to customers shopping at the store on State Street Sunday, Sept. 18. Buy this photo

By Jennifer Lee, Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 18, 2011

The space that typically houses the Above Ground Hair Studio was transformed yesterday into a bazaar with vintage clothing and locally made goods — luring students and other passersby in from State Street and up a green, leopard-printed staircase.

Local Bazaar, a pop-up store that operates once a month in and around Ann Arbor, showcased an eclectic collection of products ranging from jewelry, leather items and hand-crafted cards all designed and produced by local artists. The store also sells vintage clothing and shoes.

Lindsey Leyland, co-founder of Local Bazaar, said the intention of the bazaar is to promote the sale of local goods and benefit local artists.

“We want to keep it local, keep it community oriented,” Leyland said. “So when you come in and buy something, you know you’re helping out somebody locally in your community.”

Leyland said the bazaar is filling a niche for budding artists in Ann Arbor.

“When you look at all the different art galleries and stuff in town, there’s nothing that’s showcasing emerging artists,” Leyland said. “(The bazaar is) giving them a chance to put their art out there and see how the public responds to it.”

Corryn Jackson, an artist, curator and co-founder of Streetheart Gallery in Ann Arbor, said the bazaar gives emerging local artists an opportunity to showcase their art for a lower vendor fee than other places like the Ann Arbor Art Fair. The annual summer fair costs artists more than $300 for a booth.

“Most artists can’t afford that, especially if they are just starting off,” Jackson said. “(The bazaar) kind of gives them a stepping stone.”

Leyland and Jackson met in Ann Arbor more than eight years ago and ran two gallery and vintage clothing stores together in Chicago. After those ventures, they decided to start organizing the monthly bazaars.

“I love vintage clothing more than anything, and Corryn loves making and promoting the arts more than anything,” Leyland said.

Caitlin Dronen, a recent graduate of the University’s School of Art & Design, was one of the local artists featured yesterday for her handmade jewelry, which is made from sustainable materials.

“In the past year, I’ve worked with a lot of found materials and organic materials — teeth, bone, wood, crystal, leather,” Dronen said. “And the leather is all scrap leather.”

Dronen said she thinks the bazaar caters to a different constituency than the Ann Arbor Art Fair, especially due to the prices of the products.

“This is definitely, I think, younger and more appropriate for students on a college campus,” she said.

Cookie Gomez, owner of Above Ground Hair Studio, has hosted previous events, including a fashion show, in her salon. She said she was happy to host the bazaar in her studio this month because she believes it supports community building and offers a chance for Ann Arbor residents to connect with artists.

In June, the bazaar was located in the Yellow Barn, a performance space on West Huron Street, and featured a local food vendor. Leyland said the bazaar’s events depend on the atmosphere and capabilities of the space they are using. She said the Above Ground Studio was a particularly suitable location to hold the bazaar this time of the year.

“This time, we wanted to try out State Street since all the students are back in town and see if we can get some foot traffic from (the University),” Leyland said.

LSA sophomores Emma Kelly and Kristen Kiluk were drawn into the store on their way back from having lunch. Kelly said she enjoys shopping at thrift stores and smaller shops that sell locally made products.

“I prefer to buy at resale shops, especially if it’s local,” Kelly said. “I don’t really like shopping at Macy’s or big box stores that much.”

Kiluk commented on the bazaar’s lower prices compared to other vintage stores.

“Lots of vintage stores sell things for twice the value now,” she said.