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

Past Events

April 2020

Sunrise at Midnight

April 4 @ 7:00 pm
New London Little Theatre, 24 Central Ave E
New London, MN 56273
+ Google Map

Dreamland Arts presents the rich Kabyle folktale tradition from Algeria.  New London Little Theatre.  $15.

Find out more »

June 2020

NEW FEATURE! – “Artists’ Spotlight”

Watch for a brand new feature now on our website's Home Page! -- "Artists' Spotlight"

Find out more »
+ Export Events

Council Happenings

The ARTS today!

We are excited to announce we have hung a new exhibit in the Gallery in WEAC.Mary LaPatka’s exhibit titled “The Beauty and Science of Botanical Art.”    Unfortunately, WEAC is currently closed to the public but we have posted the show virtually on this website.  Simply go to the gallery page and you’ll see it at the bottom of the page.  We hope you enjoy it!

For the past few weeks we have featured all the artists who had signed up for Studio Hop this year on this homepage.  We are now going to feature an artist – some you may know and some will be new to you.  We hope you enjoy this feature and please let us know if there’s someone you’d like us to spotlight.


Janet Olney ~ Executive Director

Spotlight on Cam Johnson, Willmar native and 1993 graduate of Willmar Senior High

Artist’s Statement:

My paintings are an exercise in disciplined improvisation. My goal is to go beyond what I can preconceive and spark my interest by consciously pushing the boundaries of space, depth, layering, composition, rhythm, and beauty of form. Recognizable subject matter is (usually) maintained which acts as a relatable doorway allowing the viewer access to the expression therein. Ever emulating life, some pieces are simple, others complex. Yet they all share a similar visual language or style that I’ve nurtured over the years regardless of medium.

For the last 5 years, watercoloring and gouache (a less transparent watercolor paint) have become my sole focus. What sets my method apart is that I repeatedly let things dry and add more layers of paint until it reaches a saturation point that more closely resembles oil paint. As a result, my pieces take weeks where traditional watercolors are done in a day or two.  Returning to drawing in the initial stages, along with working smaller, has streamlined the process and rejuvenated my creative drive. Personal themes of subconscious, inner struggle, quantum realms, connection to nature, loss, growth, and healing permeate my current body of work.

The work shown here is titled Be With Me Now | 11 x 15″ | watercolor, acrylic, and pencil on paper | 2017.

More samples of Cam’s work may be seen at  http://artbycam.com/


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.

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!

We won’t be making any more tiles until it’s safe to get together again.  When we’re ready to start the project up, 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!