Agomoni Saha, Contributing Photographer

Art, food and puppets blended on the grass of Edgewood Park on Sunday morning.

The Westville Arts Market hosted its third joint market with the CitySeed Farmers Market at Edgewood Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 5. The Westville Arts Market featured 15 local artisans selling products ranging from jewelry and clothing to ceramics. The CitySeed Farmers Market included 16 businesses selling fresh produce, fish and other foods. The event also featured a puppet parade, a longstanding tradition of the Westville community arranged by the Westville Village Renaissance Alliance, a Westville neighborhood association that creates community events including the arts markets. 

Kate Stephen, owner of Kate Stephen Jewelry and a vendor at the market, is one of the market’s coordinators. Stephen and others were inspired to arrange a more frequent arts market by the annual Westville Arts Walk hosted every May. Stephen said the goal of the arts market is to cultivate a space where artists and the community could come together and support artists.

From her experience as a vendor, Stephen appreciates the small, warm environment with familiar faces at the arts market.

“It’s fun to vend here because you feel like you’re vending with a group of friends,” she said.

CitySeed, a nonprofit founded in 2004, works to increase accessibility of fresh produce in the New Haven community through farmers markets and other events.

Sandy Flores, a New Haven local and the Assistant Farmers Market Manager for CitySeed, said she had grown up going to the farmers market, and volunteered with CitySeed in high school. She makes sure to reach out to the Latine community to engage them in these farmers markets. She highlighted the farmers markets’ program that allows residents who have Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits to receive more produce and make the markets more affordable. 

Flores is also a Volunteer Coordinator for the Sanctuary Kitchen that helps refugee women who are resettling in New Haven gain economic opportunity by cooking and baking. 

Elizabeth Donius, the Executive Director of the Westville Village Renaissance Alliance, said that the mix of events contributed to high attendance.

“When there’s a critical mass of stuff going on, you end up getting more people out,” she said. 

She added that the traffic was heightened because the families attending the puppet parade were able to step out and peruse both markets. 

Dooley-O Jackson, an artist and vendor at the market, was the third event coordinator alongside Stephen and Donius.

Alanna Gilbert, a Senior Farm Staff at Massaro Community Farm, a certified organic community farm, is a longtime vendor at the CitySeed Farmers Markets. She echoed Donius’ sentiment of an increased turnout at the joint arts and farmers markets. 

“[The collaboration between the markets] makes [the environment] feel like more of a place where people will come to shop but also hang out,” she added.

Allison Chew and Chris Chew, the co-founders of Chew–Chew Designs, a crafts company selling a variety of accessories and products, were invited by Connectic*nt, a local arts zine, to be vendors at the arts market. Allison Chew appreciated the wide range of local vendors at the market, selling products from candles to more “whimsical” objects. 

Chew added that vending alongside a farmers market brings a new clientele. 

“Usually, when people go to a farmers market, they’re not looking for art specifically. But it’s nice that [they] can walk [down the venue] and maybe they’ll find something they weren’t exactly looking for,” she said.

Downtown Westville, or the “Westville Village Historic District” is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Agomoni Saha covers Nonprofits and Social Services as an associate beat reporter. She is a first-year in Saybrook College majoring in chemistry.