Writers Artists Night

IN A TIME repressed emotions and heavy social expectation, we are rarely provided healthy avenues of personal expression.

Writers Artists Night is an opportunity for people to exercise their creativity in collaboration with each other as a form of self-expression.

“Soul-baring,” “profound,” “cathartic,” and “healing” are just some of the words used to describe StateoftheOzarks’ longest-running art event.

Writers Artists Night

Writers Artists Night 2021 Again Hosted in Hollister

(HOLLISTER, MO) — StateoftheOzarks again hosted Writers Artists Night on Saturday, June 19, at the Chad A. Fuqua City Park in downtown Hollister. The event, which has been a part of the Downing District schedule since 2016, offers regional writers and artists a unique opportunity to collaborate.

“I don’t know of another event quite like this one,” says Joshua Heston, event founder and editor-in-chief of StateoftheOzarks.net, the online magazine based in Hollister which hosts the event. “We work hard to curate a wide variety of regional writers’ works with Ozarks artists, asking the artist to ‘create original work in some way inspired by the written word.’”

The art is placed on display for the event and participating writers and artists are invited to present throughout the evening. A jury panel is assembled to award prizes for multiple categories. “It is our goal to create the best possible environment for writers and artists alike,” notes Heston. “I have come to think of the event as a once-a-year snapshot of our region’s soul.”

Over the course of the evening, 50 disparate pieces were presented. Of those, a jury panel consisting of Hayden Head, J Allen Tucker, Noah Bray, Christine Riutzel, Mary Evelyn Tucker and Jared Houle chose the following winners:

Best Writer: Cindy Thomas (A Thoughtful Drive)
Best Writer Honorable Mentions: Georgia Griffith (Narda), Lindel Gore (Downing Street Legend)

Best Artist: Mary Arneson (Ode to a Water Lily by Dave Loftin)
Best Artist Honorable Mentions: Brent Holland (A Thoughtful Drive by Cindy Thomas), Lacey Finchum (Who’s Got a Beef with Being a Sheep? by Matt Farmer)

Best Presentation: Tom Emery (Wash Your Apples)
Best Presentation Honorable Mentions: Dalton Quick (Refugee), Betsey Mae Graves (A Love Note)

Best Craftsmanship: Julie Zetina (A Love Note by Betsey Mae Graves)
Best Craftsmanship Honorable Mention: Chris Boyd (The Old Phone by Judy Doyle)

Best Writer / Artist Collaboration: Lindel Gore with Janelle Patterson (Downing Street Legend by Lindel Gore)

Gift bags which included a variety of Hollister Farmers Market wares and Vintage Paris coffee were awarded to all winners.

“I love that the venue is outside, surrounded by trees and bird songs giving way to stars and moonlight. I appreciated every single person’s contribution to making the event a celebration of collaboration and personal uniqueness.” — Julie Zetina

“StateoftheOzarks Writers Artists Night is a highlight of the year for me. The artist gets to interpret the writing. And the best part is we get to present our creative endeavors before a live audience which makes us all stars for the evening!” — Mary Arneson

“It’s a great way to meet other local writers and artists. There is just so much talent around here!” — Lacey Finchum


2021 Writers Artists Night

1. Ode to a Water Lily
by Dave Loftin w/ Mary Arneson

2. The Old Man
by Josh Huxtable w/ Jessica Farmer

3. As You Perceive The Life of Human
by Kimberlin Skelly w/Kim Cooper

4. Chase Away the Rain
by Travis Hall w/ Savannah Richardson

5. Season’s Changing
by Michelle Waters w/ Freeman Payne

6. God’s Grace & Forgiveness
by Richard Crowder w/ Meike Aton

7. A Love Note
by Betsey Mae Graves w/ Julie Zetina

8. A Conversation with Dementia
by Beth Schulz w/ Freeman Payne

9. The Battle
by Jacqueline Faith w/ Meike Aton

10. The Old Phone
by Judy Doyle w/ Chris Boyd

11. A Thoughtful Drive
by Cindy Thomas w/ Brent Holland

12. Who’s Got Beef with Being a Sheep?
by Matt Farmer w/ Lacey Finchum

13. Moonshine
by Dennis Gallemore w/ Freeman Payne

14. Downing Street Legend
by Lindel Gore w/ Janelle Patterson

15. Wash Your Apples
by Tom Emery w/ Freeman Payne

16. On a Tuesday
by Emily Farrell w/ Shirley Lacore

17. Through Acres and Akers
by Damian Costello w/ Darren Anstead

18. My Mother’s Hands
by Estella Padgett w/ Jenny Judlin

19. The Rider
by Joel Telschow w/ Robert Bell

20. Brady’s Story
by Edwin Woolsey w/ Vashon Borich-Leach

21. Delight at 42
by Tenille Blair-Neff w/ Curtis Copeland

22. Through the Cracks
by Freeman Payne w/ Michael Faith

23. The Refugee
by Dalton Quick w/ Matt Farmer

24. Narda
by Georgia Griffith w/ Mickey Ragain

25. Contagion of Red
by Marshall Howden w/ Kaitlynn Robinson

2021 Writers Artists Night

6-10PM, Saturday, June 19, Chad A. Fuqua City Park, Hollister, MO. From March 10 through April 30, StateoftheOzarks will accept original written pieces on any topic and in any genre. Accepted written pieces are then paired with artists who have completed the form below. Artists are asked to create an original art piece “inspired in some way” by the written article they received.

Participants may submit applications as both a writer and an artist. Participants may not be paired with themselves.


Writers & Artists submissions have been closed.

Writers Artists Night

2020 Writers Artists Night

Winners & Special Mentions:

Best Writer: Dalton Quick, Over the Scottish Sea
Special Mention: Rachel & Leah Riutzel, The System of Friction

Best Collaboration: Quynn Kent with Lydia Hoskins, The Water
Special Mention: Estella Padgett with Vashon Borich-Leach, What A Family Should Be
Special Mention: Vashon Borich-Leach with Jared Houle, The Crow

Best Presentation: Rachel & Leah Riutzel, The System of Friction
Special Mention: Freeman Payne with Dustin Burkett, To Hell and Back

Best Artist: Savannah Richardson with Phantom Pain by Anthony Cirilla
Special Mention: Kaitlynn Robinson with The Village Under the Scarlett Kings by Marshall Howden
Special Mention: Jared Houle with The Crow by Vashon Borich-Leach

7-10PM, Friday, JULY 17, 2020, Chad A. Fuqua Memorial Park, Hollister, MO

Artist and Writer Check-in: 6PM at the SOTO Headquarters Tent at the Chad A. Fuqua Memorial Park, 312 Esplanade Street, Hollister, MO 65672.

Event begins promptly at 7PM, weather permitting. Dress code is casual. Event is free and open to the public. We recommend bringing comfortable lawn chairs and/or blankets. Also bug spray. A number of folding chairs will also be available for use (first come, first served). The park is an ideal place to allow for “social distancing.”

Please see schedule below for order of presentation —

1 Margie Kay w Curtis Copeland
The Ozark Spooklights

2 Erin Fox w Jenny Judlin
I Walk These Hills and Wonder

3 Dennis Gallemore w Sophie McAdara
Jake Stanton Goes Home

4 Damian Costello w Jeffrey Nanney
Quicker Bicker

5 Lynnette Horn w Freeman

6 Cassidy Hunter w Mickey Ragain
Civil War Era Romance

7 Josh Huxtable w Freeman
Cry of Her Heart

8 Jessica Farmer w Shelby Winzenreid
A Daisy Amongst the Roses

9 Lauri Lemke Thompson w Savannah Richardson
The Ant Chronicles

10 Dalton Quick w Lacey Finchum
Over the Scottish Sea

11 Marshall Howden w Kaitlynn Robinson
The Village Under the Scarlett Kings

12 Michelle Waters w Tammy Morton
Frost Flowers

13 Special Reading: Lisa Livingston-Martin w Borderlands

— Intermission —

14 Edwin Woolsey w Janelle Patterson
Springfield Bound

15 Rachel & Leah Riutzel w Kim Cooper
The System of Friction

16 Freeman w Dustin Burkett
To Hell and Back

17 Mona Menezes w Lynnette Horn
The Kitten Garden

18 Michelle Waters w Mary Arneson
Such A Gift

19 Josh Huxtable w James Beaumont
The Winds Blow

20 Estella Padgett w Vashon Borich-Leach
What A Family Should Be

21 Vashon Borich-Leach with Jared Houle
The Crow

22 Camarie Cirilla w Matt Farmer

23 Mary Arneson w Trygve Arneson
Into the Forest

24 Clint Unruh w Freeman
Death’s Lonely Journey

25 Quynn Kent w Lydia Hoskins
The Water

26 Edwin Woolsey w Chris Boyd
Leaving Hattie

27 Jenn Parks w Bob Bell and w Freeman
Charles Winslow’s Body

28 Anthony Cirilla w Savannah Richardson
Phantom Pain

2019 Participants

Writers Artists Night 2019 Winners

Top Artist of the Evening — Mary Arneson, Country Rain

Top Writer of the Evening — Deborah Haggard, The Dust

Best Presentation of the Evening — Rachel Riutzel, Water to Red

Best Writer Artist Collaboration — Dennis Gallemore with Vashon Borich-Leach, The Awful Tower

1 Dave Loftin w Shelby Hutton Winzenried
December Afternoon Feeding the Hay

2 Betsey Mae Graves (in absentia) w Mary Arneson
Country Rain

3 AJ Blanton w Lillian Berry
Prologue to the Three Spheres

4 Michelle Waters w Heath Copper
Dr M

5 Candice Gage w Mikki Sale
Them Hills

6 Deborah Haggard w Savannah Richardson
The Dust

7 Kristina Gilbert w James Shipley
I Am

8 Anthony Cirilla w Janelle Pattterson
No Wine for Ismenos

9 Dustin Snavely w Chris Boyd
American Spirit

10 Paul Thompson w Azalie Baumann
The Watermelon Fairy

11 Jenn Parks w Melody Courley

12 Jody Godrey w Sarah Hebert
PTSD The Father of Many Diseases

• Joshua Heston

– Intermission –

13 Matt Farmer w Jenny Judlin
A Modern Marvel

14 Trygve Arneson w Savannah Crawford
The Other

15 Josh Huxtable w Heath Copper
Hey There, Grandpa

16 Dave Loftin w Katie Rodick
The Gate Test

17 Rachel Riutzel w Carla Davidson
Water to Red

18 Laurie Lemke Thompson w Mary Arneson

19 T’iana Sage w Kaitlynn Robinson

20 Ron Davidson w Shelby Moore
The Great Disconnect

21 Dalton Quick w Freeman
Beneath the Willow

22 Kim Danzer w Steffie B

23 Dennis Gallemore w Vashon Borich-Leach
The Awful Tower

24 Grace Gage w Shannon Bacon
Evadora’s Temptation

25 Lisa Martin with Lacey Finchum

26 Noah Bray w Heath Copper


For questions, email josh@stateoftheozarks.net