That’s the biggest thing, remembering who helped you and making sure you help them when you can.

There’s a base instinct that dwells deep inside every living being, far past the flesh, blood, and bone that subsidizes a mortal body: we all want to belong. Mad Men recently wrapped up 92 episodes of stunning television that essentially chronicled one man’s search for somebody, anybody to take him in. Whom that connection is made with isn’t the point — it might be with a random businessman at a hippie commune in California — but feeling that connection, that sense of belonging, is.

Utah’s startup community is rising. This community, fueled by the successes and failures of entrepreneurs across the Beehive State, offers a multitude of options: events, mentors, investors, wisdom, the list goes on and on. You’ve heard the old sports cliche, “There is no I in team,” but that mantra works across all industries and fields. A community is many different people pushing aside egos, learning, teaching, and most importantly, belonging.

It’s this sense of community that has driven Michael Ori to create Studio Elevn, a Salt Lake City collaborative art studio that gives artists a place to work, connect, and belong.

“It’s all about getting rid of the egos and just seeing the value in everybody and the community, just pushing that out there and helping each other,” Ori told Beehive Startups. “That’s the biggest thing, remembering who helped you and making sure you help them when you can.”

Studio Elevn is a New York-style loft dedicated to the unique and prosperous SLC art scene. Any and all types of artists are welcome (photographers, videographers, graphic designers, strategic marketers), with the opportunity to collaborate and learn from like-minded individuals.

“Studio Elevn gives you that separation, gives people a place to come in and be proud to be a part of it, to come in and create freely with other people and to get inspired,” Ori said. “That’s my main thing to build, hopefully to help other photographers and videographers become better because that’s gonna make me try harder and then you get to work with them and push yourself to be better than when you started. I’ve learned a lot from people that shoot there, and I hope they’ve learned.”

In addition to presenting collaboration opportunities for up-and-coming artists, Studio Elevn is home to a plethora of different events: weddings, art galleries, classes, fundraisers, etc. Want to meet and mingle with Salt Lake’s artistic elite? Now you know the place.

To build on the community aspect of Studio Elevn, another branch has been created. It’s an online, community-based contribution magazine called We Are Elevn, and it’s designed to showcase everything Salt Lake City has to offer.

“I think with We Are Elevn we’ll get the attention that everybody needs to have and kind of get everybody to notice what a town we have here,” Ori said. “It’ll be searchable for designer, makeup artist, videographer, photographer, any type of contribution someone puts in, and you’ll be able to search their name and then you’ll be able to see their portfolio. And I think that’s huge, giving someone a place to show that and to be a part of.”

Every artist has their own personal portfolio. The idea fueling We Are Elevn is taking all those individual portfolios and combining them into something bigger — SLC isn’t a place where everybody lives and dies alone, but a place that embraces the sense of uniqueness and community that many different people are helping forge.

And as Utah’s community continues to rise, Studio Elevn will rise along with it.

“It’s just a love for culture and individuality,” Ori said. “I think there’s so much support here. People just want to see other people succeed and they want the city to be all that it can be.”

Published 6/1/2015