Welcome to the
Willmar Area Arts Council

In 1997, 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, Willmar Public Schools, 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 two popular events: Studio Hop and Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee!

Find out more »

Upcoming Events

See All Events
Loading Events

Upcoming Events

  • There were no results found.

Council Happenings

Bill Gossman

The art scene in our area lost a great artist, musician  and arts supporter.  Bill Gossman died at home  from cancer May 26, 2020.  Potter, musician, and friend, Bill will be missed by all of us.  A memorial service was held June 7 on the High School grounds.   Friends and family spoke and the Green Lake Blue Grass Band performed several pieces.  If you were unable to attend the service you can watch it at this link.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.

The ARTS today!

I hope everyone is staying safe and sane!  I know staying sane is a real challenge, but we can do it – especially now that we have such beautiful spring weather!

We have postponed the 2020 Studio Hop which usually takes place in June.  We are unsure at the present time when we can reschedule it, but we’ll let you know as soon as we decide.  We had 23 artists signed up to take part in this year’s Hop and we have decided to feature all of them here in our “Spotlight on the Artists”  section.  We will feature different artists periodically so be sure to check in often!!

Janet Olney ~ Executive Director

Spotlight on Pauline Prawl

Throughout my childhood, my mother blessed me with the phrase, ”You can do anything if you put your mind to it.” Because of this insightful mantra, I have done exactly that throughout my lifetime.

I have comprehensively searched for and studied the art that brings the most joy to my life, which includes intricate jewelry design, fiber arts, and mixed media watercolors.

I’m very detailed with my art, which is where I find the most joy. The ability to relax my mind is imperative, so that my art and creativity flows. The tiniest beads, the color of fabric, the uniqueness and beauty of color on paper… brings me joy and makes me exactly who I was created to be: an artist.


Spotlight on Mark Haen

I dwell in mainly oil paint. I love the way it blends and mixes. I have done paintings ranging from landscapes to abstracts. I enjoy teaching the art of creativity. I am also a musician and songwriter. My wife and I have recently built “Curiosity Cabin” on Diamond lake. (curiositycabin.com)  A creative getaway that includes art, video, photography and music. Be curious about art and music, it will change your life!


Spotlight on Mary Schroepfer

Mary Schroepfer’s subject matter in oils varies from still lifes to landscapes and birds to florals.  Mary has been painting for over 30 years.  Her favorites are  wildlife, flowers and still life.


Our bench project is temporarily on hold, but four benches are finished – one in front of the Barn Theatre, one in front of Rositta’s,  one in front of Midtown Market and the fourth in front of the Health and Human Services Building.

We received a lot of press about this project – a nice article in the West Central Tribune on June 26 and a feature in the Minneapolis Star Tribune Sunday, July 7.  Watch for more benches to pop up!  And have your creation on one of them!

When we’re ready to start the project up again, we’ll post information here, so be sure to check back.



Donate while shopping!

Did you know that while you’re shopping at Amazon you can make a donation to the Arts Council?   Simply shop at www.smile.amazon.com, find the Willmar Area Arts Council in the list of organizations, and they’ll give a percentage of your purchase to us.  It’s simple, it’s quick, and we’ll be very appreciative!