'It's beautiful. It's amazing': Westport Farmer's Market hosts first art market to help creators

WESTPORT — Though the ravages of COVID continue to tweak accessibility and assembly, the Westport Farmer’s Market helped bring a little more holiday normalcy to shopping Tuesday by offering space for area artists.

Two dozen local creators—with a variety of work, including paintings, photography and handcrafted jewelry — enjoyed space at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens, where the winter market is housed through the cold weather.

“It’s a community that just didn’t have outlets this year,” explained Lori Cochran-Dougall, executive director of the market, which she proudly said has been able to create a safe market model that was able accommodate them.

“The response to the farmer’s market has honestly been overwhelming this year, so we just wanted to spread the love,” she said.

And artists were appreciative of the opportunity, given the limit on options.

“I did a lot of different markets last holiday and they’ve all been canceled,” said Sarah Saeli, of Greenwich, who does handmade “knitware” through her business Smoke & Slate. “So I’m very thankful as a small business to have something like this.”

Xoli Gcoza of Westport, who runs Hand Knit by Xoli, also said she appreciated the market.

“It’s beautiful. It’s amazing,” Gcoza said. “The farmer’s market has been absolutely amazing to me and I love the community,” she said.

Customers also thought the artist market was a great idea.

“I think it’s great,” customer Whitney Raith, of Westport said. “It’s such an important part of the town and community, and supporting small businesses.”

In addition to helping local artists, she added it was a great experience.

“And it’s fun,” she said. “It makes it festive too.”