Honor the Lord with your possessions,
And with the first fruits of all your increase.

–Proverbs 3:9

Image courtesy of Delro Rosco, Pleasant To The Sight (2015)


From the beginning of the Old Testament to the end of the New, returning to our Creator the first fruits of what has already been given us—in talent, labor, and wealth—stands as a hallmark of God’s faithful people. The entire biblical narrative is filled with images of feasting, fruitfulness, and faithful service in which both God’s people and kingdom flourish. Joyfully and creatively engaging in the good work that God has given us to do, yielding our best efforts to the Lord, we return our first offering to him.

In response to this rich biblical ideal, CIVA│Christians in the Visual Arts is pleased to announce a call for art in celebration of the theme First Fruits. For this exhibit, twenty-four works of art will be selected. Thanks to the generosity of The Kern Family Foundation, each artist with an accepted work will receive a cash award. A $1,000 award will be granted for each of the top eight works selected. A $500 award will be given for each of the remaining sixteen works selected. In all, a total of $16,000 will be granted to artists whose work is selected for this exhibit.

Selected Works

First Place Awards
All that Is Kept within My Heart, Rachel Durfee
, Kirsten van Mourick
First Fruits, Kelly Shehan Hazime
Hearts, Matt Ballou
The Journey of Painters, Poets & Musicians, Coulter Prehm
Keep Them Close, Marcus Miers
Plateaus (blue), Josh Smith
Untitled Measurement (Ultra Life), Gene Schmidt

Second Place Awards
40 Days Forty Sacraments, Kari Dunham
, Sara Nordling
Beauty for Ashes, Heather Wright
Dairy Farm, Weld CO, 1980 and 2014, Kathy T. Hettinga
Eulogy for Mammon #3, Tyler Gathro
Good Morning, Sheila Ballantyne
Inherent, Allison Luce
Leaves, Heidy Chuang
Lengthening, Keith Barker
Milk & Honey, Vincent Hawley
The Nurture, Robert Eustace
Pleasant to the Sight, Delro Rosco
The Reinterpretation of the Full Armor of God, Lee Benson
Southern Indiana, Michael Winters
The Sum of My Parts, Megan Murphy
Tree Parables (Generations), Joseph Di Bella
Up Through the Endless Ranks of Angels, John Bergmeier


joel-sheesleyCIVA thanks Joel Sheesley for serving as the juror for this exhibit, a daunting task given the unusually large number of submissions. Sheesley is a painter and Emeritus Professor of art at Wheaton College. He currently works with The Conservation Foundation in northeastern Illinois, painting the Fox River Valley landscape, where he contributes a valuable aesthetic dimension to the foundation’s overall concern for environmental education. Joel’s paintings have been exhibited widely and upcoming shows for 2016-2017 include the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan; the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, Indiana; and the Walford Galleries at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.


  • Finalists will be announced in CIVA News on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.
  • Artists will ship selected works to the the CIVA office in Madison, Wisconsin, by Friday, July 15, 2017.

Opening Exhibit

This exhibit will open in Kansas City, Missouri, fall 2017 and then travel for three or more years to a variety of venues throughout North America.

For more information about this exhibit, please contact CIVA Exhibits Coordinator, Kate Austin.

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