Melrose Trading Post is an open-air market that celebrates art, music and all-things local
Farmers markets are popping up all over the country as a way for city dwellers and suburbanites to shop for fresh, farm-to-table fruits and vegetables, browse handmade goods, and connect with the people behind the products they enjoy. The Melrose Trading Post isn’t just an average market, however. Sure, it has all of the delicious food, artisan crafts, and community atmosphere expected at an outdoor market, but it doesn’t end there.
Melrose Trading Post – an ongoing celebration of local makers
Between 5,000 and 8,000 community members visit the market each Sunday, offering a public stage for the many visual artists, musicians, and craftspeople to feature their art in a high-traffic location that they might not otherwise be able to access or afford.
In an interview about the Melrose Trading Post, one vendor, who sells handcrafted furniture, said he was financially struggling before he started selling his products at the open-air market.
“This market provided so much. It changed my life,” he said. “I love Melrose and I hope people know the difference that it makes for students and for vendors.”
As one of the premier community markets in LA, the Trading Post is frequently recognized as a “must-see destination” on travel blogs and tourism websites. For the $5 entry fee, shoppers can find clothes, furniture, jewelry, paintings and other artwork.
“We have artists from all over that are here. They have handmade items and all sorts of unique, different things that you really can’t find anywhere else,” said Whitney Weston, co-founder of Melrose Trading Post. “It is just an amazing event.”
As co-founder Pierson Blatz said, “It just feels local. It feels like you’re buying and selling from your friends and neighbors.”
Shopping for a good cause
Since 1997, the Melrose Trading Post has worked with the Greenway Arts Alliance to provide job and life skills training to thousands of students from Los Angeles’ Fairfax High School.
Thanks to its growing popularity, the market is now the most successful social enterprise program in LA’s Unified School District. In partnership with the Greenway Arts Alliance, the event helps fund grants for athletic and arts programs as well as beautification projects and teacher training at Fairfax High School.
Proceeds from the Melrose Trading Post helped form the Greenway Court Theatre, located on Fairfax’s campus. With both professional and student-led productions, the theatre is building a love for the arts within the community and the future artists and performers at Fairfax. It’s a self-described “platform for poets to share their stories.”
The Greenway Arts Alliance also manages the Greenway Institute for the Arts, which offers free arts programming and training for Fairfax students. According to Weston, it’s a “safe place for high school students to come together and express themselves.”
The Institute provides in-class opportunities as well as work-study programs and after-school activities to help students find and grow their passion within the arts community. As Blatz says, “students learn that what they have inside is valuable, and there is a way of expressing it.”
Without the Melrose Trading Post and its financial contributions from its vendor and admission fees, the Greenway Arts Alliance couldn’t serve even a fraction of the population of young artists that it does today. Totaling over $7 million to date, the market invests in the lives of the community it serves while offering aspiring and established artisans a showcase for their one-of-a-kind goods.
Melrose Trading Post is open every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. Visitors will find the market at the corner of LA’s famous intersection of Melrose and Fairfax. Learn more at melrosetradingpost.org.