Discover urban Appalachia’s renaissance at this unique open-air market

Get a peek behind the curtain of Appalachia’s artistic revival at the East End Bazaar in Charleston.

The Bazaar’s colorful open-air marketplace only takes up 1 corner, but its spacious, open design makes it a versatile pop-up space. On days off, the simple wooden structure and painted planters decorate the once-abandoned corner. But when it comes alive, it’s bustling with artisans of every sort.

Box of pastels, Charleston, WVYou might see these artists work other places around town, too. Some are regulars in local galleries, some you may see at downtown’s Capitol Market. They’ve left their mark on the city in murals and public works. They join in for FestivALL, when the whole city turns into a work of art, and the Vandalia Gathering, which celebrates the traditional Appalachian heritage. There’s no shortage of expressive space for creatives in Charleston’s East End, and the arts scene is on an upswing.

But the Bazaar adds something entirely new to the city’s creative mix, and re-envisions the way the way we interact with urban arts. It’s more than just showcase of the city’s creative character— it’s an exploration of the uniqueness and artistry behind it.

Market events

On select Saturdays, the bazaar brings artists together around a theme. And any creative pursuit is fair game: glassblowing, painting, cooking, gardening, reuse, carving, sewing and more. There is even a baker who makes homemade dog treats, and an organic farm that brings in fresh produce— 2 Bazaar fan-favorites!

There are live demonstrations and interactive activities for every theme, so you can explore Appalachian arts hands-on.

Making glass, West VirginiaIt’s a traditional market, too: artists use the slats of the market booths to hang colorful clothing and expressive paintings. The rustic wood complements the Appalachian touches of a lot of the local work.

Live music and food vendors round out the pop-up’s artistic ensemble, so you can hang out a while, browse, eat, listen to the show. All the while, watch raw materials transform into unique works of art.

Witnessing works in-the-making, talking to the creators and trying for yourself, you get a better appreciation of the spirit that’s driving Charleston’s blossoming arts scene— and a new lens to look at the arts across the rest of the city.

Special events

You never know quite what will pop up at the bazaar, but the 2 biggest events focus in on the craft of flavor:

  • At Sips & Sweets wine tasting and bake-off, 5 local bakeries will compete to cook up the top dessert and wine pairing.
  • At Hops & Heat, you can sip more than 30 brews and sample more than 10 spicy entries in the chili cook-off.

The market opens select Saturdays from May through September, with special events throughout the year, so check their schedule before stopping by.

Discover more Appalachian arts > 

This post was last updated on March 16, 2022