First National Christian Art Competition

A Kentucky artist is trying to encourage artists of all ages to use and showcase their gifts for God's glory. Stephen Sawyer, perhaps best known for his paintings of Christ as part of his “Art for God” series, says Christians artists have a huge responsibility. “Christian art has within itself seeds of a spiritual mustard plant,” he says. “What we can accomplish in serving the Kingdom through art is phenomenal — and the responsibility that goes with talent, I think, is commensurate with that.”

Sawyer is now sponsoring the first National Christian Art Competition, a unique contest for artists of all ages. In an effort to draw out the creators of contemporary, radical, and compassionate Christian art, the sponsor has opened the competition to adults and children and is accepting entries in a variety of media, from crayons, pencils, and pastels to acrylics, watercolors, original digital art, and photography.

The contest features an adults (18 and up) category, as well as a subdivided youth category. In the adult group, the available prizes add up to $3,000, with a grand prize of $1,500. In the K-12 age category, youth may enter in one of four divisions according to their grade level: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12, competing for more than $5,000 in prizes.

The artist explains why the youth awards are particularly generous. “One of the reasons [the amount of cash prizes is] so high for a children's group is we're giving matching cash awards to the Christian schools or to the home schools,” he says, “and … money [awarded to public school winners] will be given to their church, if they so desire. And we're giving cash awards and prizes to the art teachers as well.”

Sawyer notes that the National Christian Art Competition is “the first to honor and award schools, churches, and teachers as well as the artists.” He hopes these awards will serve to recognize and reward talented artists — as well as some of those who have supported them in the development of their gifts — and that the prizes will also encourage the artists to continue “tithing their talents.”

Sawyer and his wife Cindy Sawyer, fellow artist and co-owner of Art for God, will be judging the entries, along with Doug Gabbert, who serves as the organization's advertising and marketing vice president, and Jeff James, director of the Ichthus Music Festival. Also, actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson, the producer-director of The Passion of the Christ, has been invited to be a celebrity judge of the competition.

All contest entries must be postmarked by midnight, October 15, 2004. Adult and youth division entry forms are available online, or via U.S. mail (by sending a self-addressed envelope and 60 cents postage to ART FOR GOD NCAC, 143 Lexington St., Versailles, KY 40383). In addition to cash awards, winners can look forward to having their work showcased and promoted through Art for God. Other potential uses for art discovered through the competition include illustrations for a line of Christian cards, prints, and calendars.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press).

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