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 the popular Studio Hop.

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Upcoming Events

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Upcoming Events

September 2021

Escanaba in Da Moonlight

September 26 @ 2:00 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 2:00pm on Sunday and Saturday, repeating until September 26, 2021

The Barn Theatre, 321 4th St SW
Willmar, MN 56201 United States
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Play written by Jeff Daniels and directed by Thomas Rosengren.

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October 2021

“Dancing Shoes”

October 10 @ 3:00 pm
Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 5th St SW
Willmar, MN 56201 United States
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The Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra presents "Dancing Shoes" - a concert of dance music.   Featured artist is Kaitlin Ramsey.  Also featuring the Main Point Dance Studio.  Tickets: $12.  Ages 18 and under: Free

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Council Happenings

Art Teachers' Art

Our new exhibit in the WEAC Gallery is titled “Art Teachers’ Art.”  Twelve area art teachers have contributed work for the exhibit.  Six of the twelve are retired, the rest still teaching.  The variety is incredible!  Everyone is encouraged to take the time to view it.  the exhibit will be up until Oct. 15, 2021


We’re pleased to announce that we have commissioned eight artists to create barn quilts which will be on permanent display in the Barn Theatre.  The artists are:  Ron Adams, LeeAnn Atchison, Pauline Donahue, Dona Larken, Janet Olney, Joanna Korsmo Prosser, Pauline Prawl and Monica Villars.  The quilts were unveiled Monday, September 13, 2021, during a reception for the artists.  The quilts will remain in the Event Center for now so please come see them.  They will be hung on permanent display at the Barn in the near future.
This project was made possible with funds from the David Korsmo Memorial Fund and from the Willmar Area Community Foundation.


We’re pleased to announce that a fifth bench has been completed.  The bench is in front of the Willmar Public Library.  Besides this latest one, there are four others – 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.  It looks as if we have enough finished tiles to complete three more benches.   We’re working with the concrete company to make that happen.

Watch for them!





Interested in helping?

Now that things are beginning to open up again, our Board of Directors is back to meeting in person.  We are in need of some new Board members.  Are YOU one of the people we’re looking for?  We usually meet the second Tuesday of the month at 10:00 am at the Barn Theatre.  We know that time might not work for everyone, but we are amenable to changing the time if need be.

Please call or email me if you have questions about this opportunity.  Hope to hear from you!

Janet Olney ~ Executive Director
320 905-0520 or willmararts@gmail.com


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!