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Crafting Community: How Harvard Square's Open Market Impacts Local Arts

The Harvard Square Open Market sign greets visitors as they enter the market.
The Harvard Square Open Market sign greets visitors as they enter the market. By Rachel A. Beard
By Rachel A. Beard, Crimson Staff Writer

Nestled in the heart of Harvard Square, Church Street bustles with vibrant creativity every Sunday. The Harvard Square Open Market, running through Oct. 29, is filled with local artists, makers, and vintage dealers, each presenting a trove of unique art pieces and handcrafted works. Any visitor is sure to find something they find interesting, whether they be a collector, supporter of local crafts, or just someone trying to enjoy their Sunday.

The Harvard Square Open Market, which first opened last summer, has provided a wealth of opportunities for local artists and entrepreneurs. Many vendors attending the market remarked on the benefits they have seen from participating.

“I have gained a lot more following, returning customers, and just a sense of community in the Boston area,” said Laiza G. Fuhrmann, a potter who sells her wares at the market.

Fuhrmann is not the only vendor to have experienced such a reaction to her time in the market. Anna M. Berberoglu, a print maker, had similar experiences to share.

“It’s been a lot easier to get my art out there. I just started going public with my art, so it’s a really great opportunity that they have here,” Berberoglu said.

She further emphasized the advantages of physical markets over digital platforms when promoting art.

“This is a great way to just set up and then people actually see your art,” said Berberoglu.

The market has recently experienced a change in management. The new managers, Mia V. Whittemore and Emma J. Peacock, were excited to share their thoughts on the market, particularly the idea of having a market in Cambridge, and not just Boston.

“There are a lot of artists and markets in Boston. In Boston proper, there’s SoWa, there’s the Boston Open Market, there’s Greenway. There’s dozens and dozens of markets, but I do think that by having the Harvard Square Open Market, specifically in Cambridge, it captures a lot of locals and a lot of college students who don’t necessarily make it across the river as often, and it connects them with local artists and vintage dealers, etc.,” Peacock said.

Whittemore, for her part, chose to mention the sense of community she, like Fuhrmann, has felt in the market.

“It is that sort of community that’s just so nice that we get to build friendships with other vendors,” said Whittemore.

Besides promoting a sense of community and new opportunities for local artists, the Harvard Square Open Market places a big emphasis on diversity in its vendors.

“Diversity is actually one of the most important things to us within the market,” Peacock shared. “More than 50% — I want to say it’s closer to 75% percent — of our businesses are women-owned. A large portion of them are LGBTQ-owned. I want to say, again, close to 25-30% of our businesses — and then a large number — are owned by people of color.”

Peacock made sure to also speak to the diversity of the products and crafts available at the market.

“We also have a really wide mix, we have some vintage dealers, we have some artists. We have a large mix of different mediums too,” Peacock said.

The managers were not the only people who felt the market had a diverse array of options. Rachel A. Eaglin, a jewelry designer, also shared her thoughts on the market and its rotational methods.

“For the most part, not every vendor is doing every market so there is always different people here, which is fun,” said Eaglin.

The Harvard Square Open Market is a partnership between New England Open Markets and the Harvard Square Business Association. The two have worked collaboratively to bring this unique market to Harvard Square. Denise Jillson, the Executive Director of the Business association, shared her goals for the market.

“Once people are here, the intention always is to keep them here, and not only support the local vendors who participate in the market, but to support our local brick-and-mortar businesses,” Jillson said.

The market may still be very young, but it seems to be having a growing impact. From supporting local artists and businesses, to providing entertainment for visiting locals, the market is a unique gem in the heart of Harvard Square.

—Staff writer Rachel A. Beard can be reached at

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