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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Upcoming Events

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Council Happenings

Studio Hop 2023

The 2023 Studio Hop is scheduled for June 16 and 17.  We’re planning a great event with more artists and studios than last year.  Updates will be posted here.

Hope to see you at the Hop!

Fitness Court

With help from a grant from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota, Willmar will construct the first Fitness Court in the state this summer!   The Fitness Court will be built in Sperryville Park on Hwy 71 across from Robbins Island.  We’ve narrowed our list of artists to create the mural on the court wall to four and will make a final decision soon.  We’ll keep you posted!

New Board Members

At our February Board meeting, we elected Mary Pieh as our new President.  We also elected a new Board Member, Connie Mattke, retired teacher.  We welcome her to our Board.  We’re still looking for more members!

If you are interested in helping us promote the arts in West Central Minnesota, please contact us!

Janet Olney – 235-8560 or willmararts@gmail.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.  Unfortunately, we are no longer able to get the benches made so we have decided to put the completed tiles on the concrete slab the City poured for us in front of the hospital.  We’re planning to have that completed this summer.  We’ll keep you posted here.







The next play at the Barn Theatre is “The Andrew Brothers.”  A USO performance from the Andrews Sisters is in jeopardy when they fail to appear shortly before the curtain. Thankfully, three earnest stagehands are determined to go on with the show, even if they have to do it themselves.  The Arts Council is hosting an Invitational Exhibit that will run during this play titled “Connections.”  You can submit up to three pieces of art, any size or medium.  All 2D work needs to have a wire on the back for hanging.  The fee is $5 for Arts Council members, $7 for nonmembers.  All work needs to be delivered by noon, April 13, 2023.  There will be a People’s Choice Award for $50 for the winning artist.

Please contact the Arts Council for an application.  235-8560 or willmararts@gmail.com