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Call For Pitches: Creativity in Rural Midwest

A hand reaches for violet leaves in a garden as the other hand holds a small handmade wooden basket with a rope-like handle.
Rachel Von Stroup / Arts Midwest
Dani Tippmann forages for violet at her home with a basket she made out of elm bark in Arcola, IN.

Calling writers and journalists in the rural Midwest! We’re looking for stories of creativity in rural places — stories that showcase a range of artistic, cultural, and creative practices.

Creativity in rural Midwest communities takes many forms, from inspiring projects that bring people together, to engaging cultural initiatives, and individuals making art. These expressions are shaped by our unique surroundings, our identities, and how we connect with others in our communities.

In our coverage so far, we’ve shared how a small town in South Dakota welcomes folks with its International Vinegar Museum, why an Iowa couple keeps the art of willow weaving alive, how a Wisconsin farm gets creative with cow rearing, and how a summer music camp connects with Indigenous kids.

We’re excited to bring more stories that show how creativity is interwoven into daily rural life and what it means to be part of a community in rural spaces. So, if you have a great story from your community, pitch it to us!

We’re focusing on stories from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and the Native Nations that share this geography. Pitches from outside of this region will not be considered.

Pitches are due November 15, 2023.

Selected pitches will be contracted for written articles to be published by Arts Midwest’s Creativity News Desk starting February 2024. We plan to contract at least six stories from this open call. Refer to the rate sheet below for compensation details.

Timeline & Compensation

  • October 31, 2023 – Call for Pitches opens
  • November 15, 2023 – Call for Pitches closes
  • December 4, 2023 – Notifications to selected pitches
  • By December 18, 2023 – All contracts and story plans finalized
  • January 22, 2024 – First draft of stories due
Short Form Feature Story500-750 words$500
Full Feature Story750-1,000 words$750
Three-Story Written PackageUp to 750 words per story$2,000

How To Pitch Us

The Call for Pitches will close on November 15, 2023. We’ll send notifications to selected pitches by December 4.

To pitch us, fill out our pitch submission form. You’ll be asked for the following information:

  • Provide a short bio about you and your work. (100 words)
  • Provide links to up to three work samples and/or a portfolio so we can get an idea of your range of work.
    • Work samples do not have to be published works, but should show your reporting, interviewing, and writing skills.
  • Who does your story feature? (50 words)
    • Tell us about who you’d like to feature in the written story. Who are they, and what makes them special? 
  • What is the story you’d like to share about creativity in rural or non-metro spaces? (100 words)
    • Tell us a little more about the specific angle you’d like to approach the story from. What aspects of the story/subject are you most interested in? What parts of their work or story do you think speak to creativity?
  • What is your connection to the story/subject? (50 words)
    • Why this story or subject? Do you have a preexisting relationship with them? If not, how do you plan to establish a connection?

Ready to pitch?

Fill out the pitch submission form below! You are welcome to submit multiple pitches if you have more than one. If you have any questions about the pitch process, contact Managing Editor Angela Zonunpari.

Submit a Pitch Email Angela Zonunpari