Durham Craft Market History

Every Saturday morning from April through December, Durham Central Park is transformed with artists from The Durham Craft Market setting up to create a vibrant, thriving, open-air marketplace adjacent to the well-known Durham Farmer’s Market.  Today, the vibe surrounding the market is unbeatable, but it took some hard work and growing pains to get there.

The Durham Craft Market was the brainchild of Emmy Marshall when she was thinking about outlets for her daughter’s budding artistic abilities. She networked with other local artists who shared the vision of connecting the abundant talent of local artists with the people of the Durham Community by providing a regular opportunity for the sale of quality handmade local arts and crafts. Fostering great community relations and welcoming youth artists was an early part of the market mission. And so the talks began, the mission was set, the bylaws written and The Durham Craft Market opened in 2006. Early on, artists began selling from tables placed in front of their cars in the Measurement Incorporated (MI) parking lot on Morris Street across from what was then the Durham Farmer’s Market. 

Forward thinking Ben Weber, a long time advocate for Durham Central Park and the arts, graciously gave his permission to set up at MI and helped us along the way. He continued to be our advocate with Durham Central Park as plans for the park grew. With the opening of the Durham Farmer’s Market Pavilion, The Durham Craft Market began to set up on Foster Street and then moved to along the walkway in front of the Liberty Arts Foundry and is now in its current location in the grassy area between Foster and Roney streets adjacent to the Pavilion.

Things have changed a lot from the early days. The Durham Craft Market is now a membership of over 40 juried artists, displaying one of a kind arts and crafts for all budgets and tastes. We have our tents, individually designed signs for our businesses, creative displays and a professional look. In addition to our Saturday markets, we have special events and an indoor holiday show.  As our customers kept coming back we realized part of what makes The Durham Craft Market special is a chance to spend time talking to the artists in a relaxed atmosphere, make connections and to share ideas.

There are DCM members who have remained with the market since its inception and a good number of members can now proudly call being an artist their full time job with a nod to the market for getting them started. The Durham Craft Market makes a wonderful outing for anyone. The Saturday morning experience is a chance to browse or buy gifts and relax in Durham Central Park. This fantastic urban park has grown dramatically with its beautiful landscape and walking trails, skate park, and food trucks. The kids will enjoy learning how the artists make their goods as well as playing on the super cool Mount Merrill play structure. It has become a destination on Saturday mornings.

Our DCM steering and committee chairs continue to make every effort to organize the artists, provide opportunities to enrich your experience and meet your needs for great local handmade art!  Let us know if you have a story to share about your unique experience at the park! We’d also love it if you’d like to stay connected with us and be informed about our artist spotlights, special events, and artist demos by entering your email at the top of the page.


501 Foster street durham, NC 27701


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