willmar area arts council

About Us

Twenty years ago, a group of citizens responded to an incentive from a COM-PAS and Blandin Foundation partnership to build stronger support and appreciation for creative arts in the Willmar area. Along with financial support from the Minnesota Rural Arts Initiative (RAI), the City of Willmar, a development grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC), and membership fees, the Willmar Area Arts Council officially came into existence in the fall of 1997 and became a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity in 1998.

Since its inception, the Willmar Area Arts Council has been a visible advocate for the arts in West Central Minnesota. Besides providing the rotating exhibits in the Willmar Education and Arts Center, administering the Arts in the Schools project for the Willmar Public Schools and hosting themed, invitational exhibits in the Barn Theatre's mezzanine gallery that run in conjunction with the current production, it is the force behind three popular events: Studio Hop, Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! and the Small Works Silent Auction.

Studio Hop provides the public the opportunity to visit area artists in their studios. The 2016 event is scheduled for June 17 and 18.

 Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee!  is the highlight of the fall arts calendar. The 2016 festival will be  September 17, and will include artist sales tents, demonstrations, an outdoor stage with live entertainment, children's and grown-up's hands-on art activities, a food court and free coffee all day.

Small Works Silent Auction takes place in November.  Artists offer works smaller than 12 X 12 X 12" for sale.  The auction is in the late fall, just in time for your holiday shop[ping.

The Mission of the Arts Council is to promote and support the arts in West Central Minnesota. Our goals are to:  

1.  Provide a structure to facilitate arts initiatives in West Central Minnesota. 
Facilitate funding opportunities and community financial support for arts organizations and groups.
Conduct annual membership recruitment and fund raising efforts.
Communicate arts activities via mailings and electronic media.
Maintain a registry of area artists and arts organizations.
Fulfill our collaborative agreement with the Willmar Public Schools to administer the Arts in the Schools program and coordinate exhibits in the Willmar Education and Arts Center gallery.

The Board of Directors meets monthly at 4:00 on the second Tuesday except for July in the Arts Council office.  Please contact the Arts Council office if you would like to attend a Board Meeting.

Executive Director:  Janet L Olney

Directors 2017
Nancy Carlson
Doris Cogelow
Violet Dauk
Judy Foley

Karin Gilbertson, Vice President
Paulette Korsmo, Treasurer
Kelsey Olson
Jacki Orson
Phil Scheevel
Matt Stark, President

Bea Ourada, Ex-officio