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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Council Happenings


We named the themed, invitational exhibit for the Barn’s next play – “Shrek” – Green. The exhibit will be up June 7 through June 30.  All mediums are accepted.  All 2D pieces need to have wire on the back for hanging.  The entry fee is $5 per piece for members, $7 for non-members and you can enter up to three pieces.  All work needs to be here by noon, Monday, June 6.   There will be a ballot box for the public to vote for their favorite work of art and the winning artist receives $50.

DEMO inc

Monica Villars and Pauline Donahue, owners of DEMO inc, are scheduling classes for this spring.  Please visit their website to learn more or contact Monica at Monica@DEMOinClass22@gmail.com


We’re pleased to announce that we commissioned eight artists to create barn quilts which are 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.  Be sure to see them!
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.   Unfortunately, because like so many other things, the benches won’t be completed in 2021.  Watch for them next spring/early summer, however.






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!