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 popular events such as Studio Hop. Studio Hop provides the public the opportunity to visit area artists in their studios.
The Mission of the Willmar Area Arts Council is to promote and support the arts in West Central Minnesota.
Our goals are to:
-Provide a structure to facilitate arts initiatives in West Central Minnesota.
-Facilitate funding opportunities and community financial support for arts organizations and groups.
-Conduct annual membership recruitment and fund raising efforts.
-Communicate arts activities via mailings and electronic media.
-Maintain a registry of area artists and arts organizations.
-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 Arts Center gallery.