This summer, the National Landing Market is bringing culture from around the globe to Crystal City. Featuring local vendors selling art, vintage fashion and more, the National Landing Market will be open every Saturday starting May 15 as a new space for community connection and cultural exchange.
David Ross, event producer, is creating the National Landing Market in collaboration with the National Landing BID and JBG Smith Properties as a location where customers can find unique products while engaging in cultural exchange. Noting the natural tendency of art markets to feature international creators and vendors, Ross wants to intentionally expand on that for the National Landing Market.
“I wanted to have something a bit bigger, definitely funkier, something that I would want to go to,” Ross says. “I’m about interchanging experience and making sure there is something for everybody.”
Ross also produced the “Below Zero” market at Dupont Underground in early 2020. Following the success of “Below Zero,” he looked for other interesting places to activate, and was blown away by Crystal City’s potential to host an event. The plans for a market in Crystal City were delayed by a year after the start of the pandemic, but with strict safety measures in place and vaccination rates rising, the market is preparing to open its doors in May.
The National Landing Market will offer a mix of old and new. Confirmed vendors include creators like jewelry maker Denisa Piatti, painter and George Washington University student Ananya Murthy, as well as vintage resellers like Capital Vintage and Future of What.
By featuring local vendors, the market allows community members to become merchants. From creators and collectors who have been involved in the scene for years, to people who started crafting during the pandemic, local arts markets provide a space for people to share their work, explained Ross.
One vendor who will be at the market is Vincenzo Dagnese of Vincenzo’s Vintage. Dagnese, an Italian immigrant, is a frequent seller at the Georgetown Flea Market and sells a variety of vintage wares. Originally a collector of all things Americana, he diversified his collection after realizing how the market setting allows him to connect with customers and tailor his products to their interests. He approaches auctions and estate sales, where he finds products to resell, with the customer in mind.
He explained that current trends impact the products he carries just as much as individual customer preference. After “The Queen’s Gambit” gained popularity, he noticed that chess boards and chess sets were selling especially well.
“I try to get information from the customer, what they want and what they are looking for, and I try to get a little bit of everything,” Dagnese says.
More than just a place to shop, the National Landing Market will be a destination where people can also stop for food and drink. Already included in the vendor lineup are Chia Catering, which serves Turkish food, and Scuttlebutt Bakeshop, a nautical-themed cookie shop. Ross says that the market will also have brewery and winery vendors serving drinks starting in June.
Dagnese noted how at most markets, people come to buy from vendors and then leave, but he anticipates that having food and drink available along with shopping will make the National Landing Market a place for people to hang out and get to know each other.
“It is a place for people to make a friend,” Dagnese says. “You can have a little drink, a glass of wine, and chit-chat with another person that you meet at the market.”
Ross’s vision for the National Landing Market is to create a space for people from different cultures to coexist and reconnect with each other.
“This pandemic has shifted how people think in a lot of ways and we are also coming off the heels of a pretty brutal election,” Ross says. “What I don’t want to curate is a space of tension. To me, there is more of a community activism part of this in trying to build something that is for everybody and about togetherness.”
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