Just sitting on your butt in Salt Lake City watching the snow melt or the sad war on CNN? It’s easy to forget that well within reach, mere hours away, there are rich, warm places to visit in the south, like the Snow Canyon Lava Tubes or the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The Northern Corridor Highway, a four lane road that would connect Washington with Route 18 in the north of St. George, aims to bring those two locations closer together. But it would do so at the expense of the latter. If you’ve been inspired by that landscape, you are invited to contribute artistically to help save it — and even to gain a little fame in the process.
Conserve Southwest Utah, a small environmental nonprofit based in St. George, is calling for artist and writer submissions for a new publication. It is producing Red Cliffs Magazine, dedicated to Red Cliffs National Conservation Area and Reserve, and welcomes “all art forms, including photography, paintings, prints, drawings, embroidery, metalsmithing, sculpture, music, dancing, creative writing, poetry, essays, etc.” Submission deadline is March 21, 2022.
Isabel Adler, CSU’s Public Lands Program Director, acknowledges that“Magazine” has often felt like the wrong term for this project, but zine doesn’t quite fit either and neither does book. This “magazine” is environmental activism meant to visually demonstrate to decision-makers why landscapes such as Red Cliffs must remain protected.
“The aim of this project is to show this landscape through the eyes of the people it has inspired with the goal of evoking an emotional response from the decision-makers who are often far away from the lands they make decisions about. This project is inspired by the legacy of the environmental humanities as a tool for advocacy in Utah, exemplified by projects such as Red Rock Stories and this piece by Utah Diné Bikéyah. This is not a magazine in the traditional sense.”
Funded by Conserve Southwest Utah, the project is led by Adler and Carol Bold, an artist based in St. George, who will collaboratively determine what to include out of material submitted. Artists will retain the rights to their work and payment is in pride as the magazine will not be for sale. It will be available free online, and a limited number of paper copies will be printed and given away.
“I draw great inspiration from the natural world,” says Bold, who wrote an op-ed for the Salt Lake Tribune about the project in 2020. “The Red Cliffs Desert Reserve has basically been my backyard since moving to Utah, and I have studied its flora and fauna extensively in my art.”
“In submitting a piece to Red Cliffs Magazine, each artist contributes to ensuring that Red Cliffs remains an inspiring natural area protected from development,” says Adler. “Being featured will provide exposure for the artist, as CSU will be using this magazine as an outreach tool both locally and nationally. For each piece included, the artist will be credited along with a short statement about who the artist is. Part of this project is featuring all the different artists included in the magazine as we want the reader to see how many people Red Cliffs has made an impression on.
“It will be sent to many Utah decision-makers, such as Sens. Romney and Lee, Rep. Stewart, as well as top officials in the Dept. of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management,” Adler continues. “This magazine also will be widely shared in the environmental advocacy community. It will be a part of the Protect Red Cliffs campaign to stop the Northern Corridor Highway from being constructed,” she says. “It is an incredible opportunity to engage in environmental activism through art.”
For now, they are only producing one edition, though they may continue to grow the project depending on how it is received.
“Our vision is to create a book that captures the beauty of Red Cliffs through the art and voices of people who have been inspired by this landscape. If Red Cliffs has inspired you to write or create art in any form, reach out to us! We would love to feature your work in the magazine,” CSU urges.
Submissions for Red Cliff Magazine can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
A graduate of the University of Utah, Ann Poore is a freelance writer and editor who spent most of her career at The Salt Lake Tribune. She was the 2018 recipient of the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Artist Award in the Literary Arts.