Fort Worth will soon be home to a new open air market designed to showcase local artisans and their original handcrafted works.
Urban Traders Market is set to launch with 24 artisans on Oct. 1-2 at Shipping & Receiving, located at 201 S. Calhoun St. in the city’s growing, hip Near Southside neighborhood.
The market is slated to be open the first Saturday and Sunday of the month, every month except January and February.
Modeled after the longest running open air market in Portland, Ore., Urban Traders Market is a platform for creatives to participate in an evolving, monthly public marketplace.
The concept is the brainchild of Executive Director Amber Richardson, a Fort Worth artist and business owner. Richardson, a wedding photographer, officed in the Stockyards for many years before she decided she needed a career change. She used to live in Portland and says Fort Worth reminded her of the West Coast city when she moved here 14 years ago.
“Fort Worth’s a great walking city,” she said. “People in Fort Worth really enjoy their culture and art but there really wasn’t anything like a Saturday market here dedicated to just handmade items, at least not on a regular basis. We hope to change all that.”
Not to be confused with a farmers market, flea market, trade days, vintage or antiques show, Urban Traders Market is a juried venue that will feature a variety of handmade items across various mediums, including jewelry, painting, glass, wood, ceramics, sculpture, photography, leather goods, mixed media, home décor, culinary art and furniture. Vendors will rotate monthly to allow fair opportunity for participation and give shoppers a fresh experience each time they visit.
“We want to be here long term,” Richardson said. “We want to lift everybody up so our focus is on building relationships with artists and organizations. We refer to our vendors as ‘family.’ We want them to do great and in turn we all do great.”
The goal for Richardson and her team is to nurture and promote local artisans. All of the handcrafted items will be made in the United States, primarily from North Texas artisans.
“We want to help the artisan to get exposure to more people and grow their business,” Richardson said. “People want to support local businesses and locally-sourced, handcrafted items. They want something unique. And they want to have that face-to-face contact with the artist, to meet the people behind the work.”
The October debut of Urban Traders Market will include strolling musicians, performance artists and refreshments from gourmet food vendors Pouring Glory Growler Filling Station and Grill and Rolling Stone Food Truck. Two booths will be dedicated to nonprofit organizations BrothersKeepers, which supports veterans and first responders serving North Texas, and Garden of Eden, a sustainable eco village located in Arlington.
The marketplace will continue on Nov. 5-6 and Dec. 3-4 at Shipping & Receiving. Booth fees are $195 for two days or $125 for a single day.
Richardson hopes to expand her “vendor family” to 100 artisans when the marketplace returns next spring.
“We hope to stay on the Near Southside. We think it’s the place to be,” Richardson said. “We hope Fort Will embrace us. We’ve already had such great support. We’re looking forward to bringing something different to Fort Worth.”