An all new First Friday Art Walk is debuting June 7 in Downtown Hollister.
This art walk joins a number of other special events being hosted and organized by State of the Ozarks, which is an online magazine publication and the host of the annual SOTO Festival in downtown Hollister.
Local Real Estate Agent and SOTOLife Creative Community Member Joseph Long said this new art walk is a direct result of some of the new life that has been breathed back into Hollister.
“Hollister is much more alive than it used to be,” said Long. “Largely, this life has come about because of the community wanting to participate together and care for their downtown and care about each other. So there seems to be more of a desire for that, and you’re seeing it in the fact that businesses are opening and staying open and the weekends downtown, you can’t find a place to park.”
Both the Hollister and Branson areas have seen a variety of art walk events come and go in recent years, but nothing lasts for more than a couple of years. Long said he believes the interest for an art walk has returned because of the community State of the Ozarks has brought together.
“The community was there, we just helped bring it together and made it centralized and gave everyone a common goal and a common voice for their common goal. We thought, let’s give it a shot. Let’s see if we can make it happen again and make it successful this time,” said Long. “This art walk, we’re starting it small, and we’re starting it sustainable so we can ease into it and make it a long term sustainable thing for several years.”
Part of the unique and sustainable mission for this art walk is how and where the art will be on display. Long said artists won’t be outside on the street, instead they will be inside participating businesses along Downing Street in Hollister.
“As far as number of people, we currently have five businesses on the street that are participating, stretched between the Olde English Inn on one end, and Vintage Paris on the other. Kind of the two anchor points and then businesses scattered in between,” Long said. “For this first event, we’re going to have 10 artists for the first run through. We have room to grow and expand that, but we’ll sort of play that by ear as the season goes.”
Long said another part of the uniqueness of this art walk is it will only feature businesses, artisans and craftspeople that have a membership with State of the Ozarks.
“It is a State of the Ozarks event, and right now we’re limiting it to State of the Ozarks members. So that’s one aspect, you have to be a member of State of the Ozarks to be a participant brick-and-mortar vendor business as well as to be a participant artist, who has their art work or craft displayed,” said Long. “Obviously, the more brick-and-mortar businesses that join, the more vendor space we’ll be able to have.”
There is a $10 fee for artists and businesses to participate in the art walk, which Long explained was to help cover the cost of advertising the event. All the artists will be on hand to visit with attendees about their art. Artists will also have pieces for sale for anyone who finds something they just can’t live without.
“We see downtown Hollister as an alive and active downtown that has a lot of neat history and neat culture to it. It’s weird, it’s Ozarks, it’s hillbilly, it’s quirky, but it’s also cool, it’s also upscale and that is our long term goal for what we’re wanting this to be,” Long said.
“We just want to invite people to come in and experience that and hopefully make this a regular part of each month as the season goes on, and hopefully people can build some new friends and get plugged into the community a little bit better.”
The June 7 event will run from 6-9 p.m. and is free for all attendees. Participating businesses will include Ye Olde English Inn, Downing Street Pour House, Twinkle Market, Number 10 Downing Salon and Vintage Paris. Scheduled artisans are Chris Boyd, Maple Hill Ceramics, Jenny Judlin, Mary Arneson, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Christine Riutzel, Heath Copper and Shannon Bacon.
Artisans, crafters or businesses interested in participating in future art walk events are encouraged to visit stateoftheozarks.net.