The Willmar Area Women’s Fund granted $750 to Woodland Centers to support the children’s portion of a community mural. The community mural brings awareness to mental health while beautifying the west wall of Woodland Centers along Willmar Avenue at the same time. New London artist, Kristin Allen from Greenwater Garage, was the lead artist for the project providing the mural outline. Another artist was tagged in to create an Eric Carle style children’s companion mural.
Willmar Area Community Foundation (WACF) was a funder of the original mural and staff were there to paint on that first day in July. Executive Director, Sara Carlson, saw the new children’s mural of the community mural and heard about the new budget issue. The children’s mural added $1,500 to the project budget at the eleventh hour. Woodland Centers had raised about 50% of the needed additional funds so the gap was $750. The Women’s Fund had an opportunity to help fund this project with a partner that worked in our areas of focus. The mural aligns with our impact areas of victims of sexual exploitation and trauma since it is focused on the youth/children in treatment for trauma related mental illness, living at the domestic violence shelter and uses therapeutic means (art) to allow for meaningful engagement with their community through a trusted partner. Several groups of youth and children contacted Woodland Centers asking to participate. This included youth in their treatment programs, youth from a shelter and YMCA day camps. Woodland Center planned for three community painting days including July 27, August 24 and September 14 to complete the project. Volunteers continually flowed into the parking lot of the mental health, substance use and crisis support services center to paint the 80-foot mural. "The whole idea is to build connection," Woodland Centers Director of Community Impact, Kim Madsen said. "It's really exciting to see this project come to fruition."
Check out the mural at Woodland Centers as it really livens up the building and brings awareness to the importance of mental health.