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SLC bookstore's pop up market helps promote queer inclusivity

Posted at 5:57 PM, Aug 19, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — One bookstore in Salt Lake City is showcasing unique art through a pop up market, to help promote queer inclusivity.

“It creates a safe space for a lot of us, where we can express ourselves and express our own identities,” explained Erica Jursic, who owns ‘I am an Ocelot.’ She is an artist and illustrator, and one of about a dozen artists who brought their creations to ‘Under the Umbrella’ on Saturday. “I create all of the artwork that you see at my booth, which include originals, prints, stickers, upcycled goods.”

They use art to showcase what they believe in. “It allows me to kind of highlight some of the issues, like the motifs in my work, including like ocean conservation, bipoc solidarity, queer identity, my own Taiwanese tropical islander identity as well.”

Under the Umbrella is a book store where everything in the store in queer in some way. “It’s just a big old gay time in here,” said Kaitlyn Mahoney, owner, of Under the Umbrella. The point was to create a safe space for anyone who identifies under the LGBTQ umbrella, so that’s where under the umbrella came from.”

The bookstore hosts a queer pop up art market the third Saturday of every month. The booths ranged from art, taro reading, candies, shirts, prints, scrunchies, stickers and more. “Owning a small business is really hard, and owning a physical space, it is out of reach for a lot of people, so I wanted to share. I have the space, you’ve got the patio out back, let's spread the joy and bring more queer people together,” said Mahoney.

It’s Brooklyn Troutman’s first time selling at a market like this. “I’m meeting lots of really fantastic local artists by doing this, I’m meeting lots of awesome Utah locals, which I really appreciate, so we’ll see where this goes.”

Hoping to continue to celebrate spaces like these. “We don’t have many spaces in general that are like dedicated queer spaces that are good for everybody who comes in.”