The sweet scent of Vietnamese spices and harmonious, a cappella voices drifted through a bustling crowd, as visitors examined handmade necklaces and skirts stitched from colorful imported fabrics. The exotic-looking scene took place right in the middle of the Science Center Plaza at Harvard.
For the next several Fridays, dozens of local artists, crafters, and designers from Boston’s SoWa Open Market will be at the plaza.
Local jewelers, seamstresses, artists, and other crafters premiered their work under the tent last Friday as Harvard students serenaded the lunch-hour crowd at the Cambridge Open Market. The open-air arts market is the newest addition to the growing suite of activities — from giant chess and checkers sets and food trucks to oversized outdoor beanbag chairs — that are drawing hundreds of people to the area on any given day.
“The Common Spaces Program creates vibrant open spaces with activity and programming that serve the Harvard community and our neighbors,” said Lisa Hogarty, vice president of campus services, which oversees the Common Spaces Program. “Like the Harvard Cambridge farmers market, the Cambridge Open Market is a great fit for the plaza’s flexible space next to Harvard Yard. It will draw campus and community together, while promoting local artists and artisans.”
Surrounded by unusual necklaces built from the natural stones that inspired them, Erin Nelson of Freebird Designs of Arlington said, “This is my chance to connect with people in Harvard Square.”
Sara Hartmann, co-owner of Secret Ships, a new e-commerce import/export business, said she was delighted to have a spot at Harvard. A regular commuter through the Yard, she said, “The plaza is taking on a life of its own.”
Harvard Common Spaces teamed up with SoWa Open Market, Harvard Square Business Association, and the Cambridge Artists Cooperative to bring the market to the plaza.
The SoWa Open Market at Harvard will be open Fridays through Oct. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.