Over fifteen years ago, 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, a development grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council (SMAHC), 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 and administering the Arts in the Schools project for the Willmar Public Schools, it is the force behind three popular events: Studio Hop, Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! and the Small Works Silent Auction.
Studio Hop provides the public the opportunity to visit area artists in their studios. The 2013 event is scheduled for June 14, 15, and 16.
Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! is the highlight of the fall arts calendar. The 2013 festival will be September 21, and will include artist sales tents, demonstrations, an outdoor stage with live entertainment, children's and grown-up's hands-on art activities, a food court and free coffee all day.
Small Works Silent Auction takes place in November. Artists offer works smaller than 12 X 12 X 12" for sale. The auction closes with a reception the Friday before Thanksgiving.
The Mission of the Arts Council is to promote and support the arts in West Central Minnesota. Our goals are to:
1. Provide a structure to facilitate arts initiatives in West Central Minnesota.
2. Facilitate funding opportunities and community financial support for arts organizations and groups.
3. Conduct annual membership recruitment and fund raising efforts.
4. Communicate arts activities via mailings and electronic media.
5. Maintain a registry of area artists and arts organizations.
6. Fulfill our collaborative agreement with the Willmar Public Schools to administer the Arts in the Schools program and coordinate exhibits in the Willmar Education and
The Board of Directors meets monthly at 4:30 on the second Tuesday except for July. Locations vary. Please contact the Arts Concil office if you would like to attend a Board Meeting.
Bea Ourada, Treasurer
Deb VanBuren, Vice-President
Jeff Vetsch, President