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!

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Upcoming Events

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Past Events

September 2019

Glacial Ridge Winery

September 5 @ 6:30 pm
Glacial Ridge Winery, 15455 Old Mill Road
Spicer, MN 56288 United States
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Music by Gravel Road.

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Goat Ridge Brewery

September 14 @ 8:00 pm
Goat Ridge Brewery, 17 Central Ave W
New London, MN 56273
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Music by The Federales.

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Council Happenings

Welcome to our new website!

We are so excited to unveil our new website and logo and are pleased you found us.!  We love the new, fresh look of our site and hope you do, too.

There are several new features on this site, including a form for you to submit items you’d like us to publish.  Our mission is “to promote the arts” and having a complete calendar of events is one way to accomplish that mission.  We need your help, however, to guarantee we list as many events as possible.  There is a link on the Calendar page of this site where you can submit an event.  We hope you’ll help us keep the site current by using this feature.

Another way we promote the arts is by promoting our local artists and arts organizations.  There is an artist registry on this site that will have a page dedicated to any individual artist or arts organization that gets us their information.  At this point, the registry is still a work-in-progress, so please contact us if you’d like a page.  We intend to have the registry completed soon.

PLEASE  CLICK THIS LINK TO TAKE A SURVEY: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y6YGTQC

Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee!

Plans for this year’s Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! are well underway.  The 22nd annual festival is scheduled for Sept. 21, 2019 and will again be at Kennedy School.  The poster and raffle art were unveiled on August 8 at the Barn Theatre.  The 2019 poster artist is Michele Steffen.  Raffle artists are Bradley Hall, Bonnie Smith, and Joan Rydberg.  Their art is on display in the Kensington Bank lobby.

Be sure to put the date on your calendar!



Our bench project is moving right along!  Three benches are finished – one in front of the Barn Theatre, one in front of Rositta’s, and the third one in front of Midtown Market.  The next chance to paint a tile will be Thursday, August 22 from 5:00 – 8:00 during an “Artists on Main St pop-up market” in the Fabulous Finds parking lot 414 Becker Ave SW.  There will be another opportunity to do a tile during Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee!

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!



Country Quilters Guild

The Country Quilters are preparing for their Quilt Show, September 28 – 29, 2019 at the Willmar Civic Center.  They are also featuring the quilts of Smitty Luschen in the lobby of Kensington Bank during the months of September and October.  there will be a reception for Smitty Thursday, September 5 from 11:00 to 1:00 at the bank.  Everyone is welcome to come, meet Smitty and learn more about quilting and the upcoming show.