“Little girl,” he said earnestly, “keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” — attributed to Mark Twain by Gay Zenola MacLaren in 1938

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*State of the Ozarks Media & Design Inc reserves the right to maintain or dismiss, without refund, or suspend members based on their ethical treatment of others within the community.

The Story.

[Hollister, MO] — 

Born out of the local underground art scene, the SOTO Creative Community is dedicated to all Ozark creatives — craftsmen, entrepreneurs, fine artists, educators, non-profits and small business owners.

This innovative networking organization, which combines web, social media, and energetic face-to-face gatherings, has grown dramatically since 2016. The growth shows little signs of abating.

“We are on the cusp of something powerful,” notes editor-in-chief Joshua Heston. “I believe the next revolution is not tech, or industry, but social currency. The way we use tools to better connect with one another in meaningful ways. In that, the SOTO Creative Community is at a new forefront.”

Today, the SOTO Creative Community’s membership stands at well over 100 local businesses. The organization hosted its first festival — an event spanning historic Downing Street in Hollister, Missouri, and garnering 75 local vendors and over 5,000 in attendance — on September 16, 2017. The second annual SOTO Fest took place in September 2018. The third annual event is planned for Saturday, September 14, 2019.

“We understand creative people,” Heston continues. “We understand their needs and are very nimble in our response. While we cannot create success for our members, we can create a platform they can use very easily and effectively. Together? We really can make a difference.”

The SOTO Creative Community is based on direct, simple rules and effective community sharing. New members agree to engage in a collaborative (rather than competitive) environment. They pledge to be passionate about their own purpose. Lastly, they promise “not to be a jackass.”

“I’m a writer,” laughs Heston. “I wracked my brain on a fancy way of saying that last one! But in the end, being direct makes the most sense! New members understand they are coming into a space of respect and that it’s only fair they respect others. We aren’t very stuffy though!”

In addition to individual showcases on the StateoftheOzarks online magazine, SOTO members are entitled to attend regular Creative Community events. Weekly small group meetings, and quarterly gatherings. A series of social media campaigns are planned for 2019.

“We realized how popular the get-togethers were,” continues Heston, “when we started double-booking weeks in 2017! We’ve since limited our events a bit so we can curate each one carefully.

“We as a society are hungry for authentic, meaningful human contact. Honestly, we are brainwashed to compete and feel terrible about ourselves. A great deal of healing comes when we learn the opposite:

We don’t have to compete to be successful. There are others around us who care about our success. And we can come together, be respected, and feel very good about our work and who we are as human beings.

“We can be creative, unique, human misfits together. And the Ozarks will be a much richer and more fulfilling place as a result.”

The Fine Print.

If you feel you have the qualities to become a StateoftheOzarks Member, email Josh at Josh@StateoftheOzarks.net today. Membership cost is $10 per month, sold by the year. Members receive a Member Page on the magazine (two images, 80 words marketing comments, and up to seven forms of contact). Members may also attend any regular networking events. All members receive special pricing on big events.