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

April 2020

Whitney Music Center

April 2 @ 6:00 pm

Music by Ana Storm.

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Sunrise at Midnight

April 4 @ 7:00 pm
New London Little Theatre, 24 Central Ave E
New London, MN 56273
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Dreamland Arts presents the rich Kabyle folktale tradition from Algeria.  New London Little Theatre.  $15.

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Council Happenings

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 Craig Edwards

I have been making art for 49 years, primarily working with clay.
I work at my studio two to four hours almost everyday, usually in the morning.
I divide my time between functional pottery, sculpture, and watercolor.
I do not create with an audience in mind.
I make art because I like to.

Spotlight on Lynn Edwards

My artwork for the past few years has been based on my travels.

I love sketching and painting things that move me.  I find that this seems to capture the time and place where I created it.  I take many photos, but if I have also observed to draw the scene it lasts in my memory.

When home, I have painted from sketches, photos & watercolors with oil paint.  Many of the recent works have been inspired by Bali, a tropical paradise that is filled with natural beauty and rich and colorful cultural traditions.  I am so grateful that l have had the opportunity to travel and create art!


Spotlight on Ginger Hallbeck

Ginger Hallbeck works in several mediums to produce her art work.  A watercolorist for many years, she often embellishes her paintings with collage, pen and ink, acrylic paint and watercolor pencil.  She recently added water soluble oils to her mediums.  She loves to paint flowers but also works in landscapes, portraits and abstracts.


Our bench project is moving right along!  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!



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!