Chloe Monson and Elaine Sayer, co-founders of SLC Pink and The Creative Collective, want to be your (art) moms. As in, they want to foster an inclusive and welcoming space for anybody who wants to make things in Salt Lake City. “We want to be everybody’s cheerleader,” says Sayer. It’s about unconditional love and support—about telling each other, in earnest, that our work is good, that we should keep creating.
The pair’s enthusiasm for creativity and community manifests in many forms. Monson is an illustrator and embroiderer, soon to lead an embroidery workshop for Craft Lake City. Sayer’s primarily a writer, and she’s currently working on personal zines and a poetry project in which she leaves short, handwritten poems around the city for strangers to find. As The Creative Collective, the pair created small, charming pins that read “I SUPPORT YOU,” dedicated to the dreamers and makers of Salt Lake City (cool fact: Matthew Vasquez of Delta Spirit—Sayer’s favorite band—now sports one of those pins). The Creative Collective’s latest and most involved endeavor thus far, SLC Pink, is a submission-based multimedia zine of writing and art by women and non-binary folks, releasing May 1.
“Both of us have known for a really long time that we wanted to do a zine together, and we always knew that we wanted to collaborate,” says Sayer. Starting just a few months ago, the pair set out to find the community first, mostly via Instagram stalking and talking to anyone who would listen around town. “You think SLC is small,” says Sayer, “and then you try reaching out to people—you don’t realize how big the community is. It’s amazing.” For Monson, Salt Lake City is the perfect spot to start a zine like SLC Pink “because everyone’s willing to contribute, to be a part of this community,” she says. Between Monson and Sayer, the two continued to tell people about SLC Pink, released the “Girl Power” theme for their first issue, learned how to work InDesign, extended submission deadlines, cried when they had to turn away submissions (they received 75—including some out-of-state and -country submissions—but could only accept about half of those), made shrinky-dink pins, stared at the computer screen for hours and, finally, ordered 200 copies of the zine, all of which are now sitting patiently in Monson and Sayer’s living room.
Their hard work paid off. Edition One of SLC Pink is modestly printed on plain, white, letter-size paper, folded in half and held together by two staples, but it’s brimming with works that pay tribute to the talent of the local artist community. It starts off with a playlist compiled by Monson—featuring Nina Simone, Baby Ghosts, Patti Smith and more—and an essay by Sayer that talks about being “a little bit more tender to the parts of ourselves we’ve been neglecting.” Edition One is packed with words that are semi-confessions, semi-manifestos. Illustrations, paintings and embroideries declare things like, “Don’t let the bastards get you down” in mock-Latin, à la Margaret Atwood (Brinley Froelich), or visualize the infinite things that we can do, like make jokes, chop their hair short or read experimental poetry (Ashley Fairbourne).
In an effort to further foster the SLC Pink community and to celebrate creative outlets beyond those that can be included in the physical zine, Sayer and Monson have organized a Kilby Court release party for SLC Pink. “It’s a goal of this release party to have everyone together, to grow this big, awesome, empowering community of friends and supporters,” says Monson. Acts will include the swoon-inducing stylings of Ana Hardy, Sally Yoo and Bancho; standup comedy by Amerah James and Malinda Fisher; and a DJ set by Dylan Sands and Clark Holland. Each $10 ticket for admission will include a copy of the zine, and Monson and Sayer will have plenty of SLC Pink–related merch and local artworks for sale—proceeds will go toward funding the next edition of SLC Pink.
Looking forward, Sayer and Monson aim to release new editions of SLC Pink every four months or so. Long-term goals for The Creative Collective include kickstarting another zine series called SLZine, setting up art shows and expanding to a physical location. In the meantime, Sayer and Monson are preparing to open submissions for SLC Pink’s next theme, which is just as personal and necessary as was the first: the self-portrait, a sincere and deeply powerful means for female and non-binary artists to freely express, declare and empower—on their own terms, and also as a community.
“This zine isn’t for us—it’s for you guys,” says Sayer. “It’s not made by us—it’s made by you guys. This zine is going to be full of art, and more importantly, people. … To say the least, we are both damn excited.”
The SLC Pink Release Party takes place May 1 at Kilby Court—doors are at 6 p.m. and tickets are $10, zine included. For updates on SLC Pink or The Creative Collective, follow @SLCpink on Instagram or send an email to SLCpink@slccreativecollective.com—and if you see either Monson or Sayer in public, say hi! They’ll love it.