Welcome to The Midwest Creative.

…where we celebrate the brilliant, innovative, fascinating creativity that lives across the Midwest.

This newsletter comes from a deep love for my home state and a desire to see it grow into something better.

I’ve realized over the last few years that I didn’t have to feel as out of place as I did growing up.

I was born and raised in a small eastern Iowa town that never felt like home to me.

I had opinions. I wanted more from the world than that place could give me. I wanted opportunities that I didn’t believe I could find in this state where I grew up. I felt fundamentally different than most of the people I grew up with and I was never going to apologize for it.

I grew to understand that the creative world I longed for was something we were capable of building here if we looked a little deeper. Incredible creative people with brilliant ideas live across the Midwest—we just haven’t built the infrastructure to make that creativity visible.

This is my attempt to contribute to that infrastructure.

What is the Midwest Creative?

I explore the different ways creativity manifests itself in the Midwest and how we can support the artists that call this region home.

Through personal essays, features, interviews, and general ruminations, I’m tapping into the creative energy vibrating under these rolling hills and helping to pave a way forward for those like me that love their home but feel a little bit out of place.

I’m learning to get comfortable with the ever shifting nature of creativity. The more I write, the more I understand the value of letting my interests lead the way. That means my work tends to vary and I can’t promise this newsletter will look the same week after week.

But what I can promise is a space that lifts up artists in our community, explores the myriad ways we nurture our creativity, and hopefully offer you support on your own creative journey by bringing you along for mine.

To get a taste of my work:

You might be wondering, who is Macey Shofroth?

I grew up in Monticello, Iowa, a town that my family has lived in for three generations. My parents and uncle own and operate the local newspaper that my grandpa began working at when he was sixteen. I have two older brothers and an older sister and I am a very proud aunt to three nephews and two nieces.

I studied Journalism and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. I have been published in The Daily Iowan, College Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, and Witch Craft Magazine. I am a Marketing Coordinator for a DEI and cultural education nonprofit in West Des Moines called CultureALL where I write about diversity, inclusion, workplace relationships, and arts and culture.

My identity has been largely shaped by my experiences with Type 1 Diabetes. I was diagnosed when I was five years old and shortly began attending a camp for kids with diabetes, Camp Hertko Hollow. Camp quickly became my favorite place on Earth, my home away from home, and provided me with a family that I love dearly. I attended for nine summers as a child and have been volunteering as a counselor since I was 20.

One of those years, a tall, goofy counselor named Matt caught my eye. He had been attending camp since he was six and his mom, Lisa volunteers as a nurse. A walk down a hill, a few dates outside of camp, and five years later, he’d become my husband.

Matt became the Camp and Family Programs Manager of Camp Hertko Hollow in November of 2022. He now organizes and operates the camp, providing the life-changing experiences for children that shaped our lives.

We live in the Des Moines area with our two cats, Roxane (named for my favorite writer, Roxane Gay) and Rosalita (named for a song by one of his favorite musicians, Bruce Springsteen).

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Essays and explorations on the creative life and those of us living it in the Midwest.


Iowa native. Storyteller. I love building community and finding new ways to enjoy life.