Hosting a Christian Plein Air Art Event for the First Time!

Kansas City Christian news with Bill Otterness
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From May 9th through the 12th Genesis 1:1 Fine Arts
held a Christian plein air art event called Art Flood KC.

Bill Otterness describes how the plein air event went and how many of the attending artist were excited to be given tools to share their love for God and see greater kingdom impact through their artistic gifts.

This episode went a little longer than a normal kingdom brief, but I wanted to make sure to capture what Genesis 1:1 is doing.

Show Notes

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Genesis 1:1 Fine Arts

Nathan Sack  00:08
Welcome to another Faith Horizons Kingdom brief. These are short podcasts between 5 and 10 minutes. The purpose of a kingdom brief is to share highlights from ongoing Kingdom activities and announce events in Kansas City. Expressing God in the City from May 9th through the 12th Genesis 1:1 Fine Arts held a plein air event called Art Flood KC. Bill Otterness describes how this premiere event went, and how many of the attending artists were excited to be given tools to share their love for God and to see greater Kingdom impact through their artistic gifts. This episode went a little longer than a normal Kingdom brief, but I wanted to make sure to capture what Genesis 1:1 is doing. Here’s my conversation with Bill Otterness. So, Bill this, this last week, I heard that you were over at Loose Park, doing Art Flood KC, which is a plein air event, which was put on by Genesis 1:1 Fine Arts. So can you tell us a little bit about Art Flood KC? And who, how it went down and how many people participated? And how that go.

Bill Otterness  01:20
So that actually went very well. You know, there’s something that’s kind of nervous about launching an event like that, when, when there’s a risk. And a lot of that risk is because we’re, we’re new at this when it came to the plein air event. Julie had gotten involved. We felt to get our artists involved with plein air, even though they’re not that type of artists. You know, a few years ago, they started delving into that community, because it’s a whole community of artists. And they really stick together very well. And so we kind of move into this area. And then I start helping a couple of the organizers with things setting up and tearing down and getting to know them. And then this year, we had this invitation from The Send outreach coordinators to reach in every sphere of society. Genesis 1:1 had received a personal invite to this meeting from Kevin Stark with the Team Extreme guys, we know him very well. And, you know, which was which was nice. He thought of first people he thinks of as you gotta have Genesis 1:1 there. And so we went to that meeting. And we were really stirred by the opportunity to partner with this big Send thing.  And, and somehow God gave us this idea to do a plein air event. And you kind of step into this realm that we’ve never been in ever, ever.

Nathan Sack  03:06
So just give us a small description of what is a plein air event.

Bill Otterness  03:08
So plein air is the artist is outside, in the elements doing art. Doesn’t necessarily mean you’re painting landscape. It could be painting a car, I seen one artist paint a dumpster at an event. And he about won that competition. It was really cool. He was in an alley painted a dumpster captured the lighting. It was really nice. And so but yeah, it’s, it’s about being in the elements. And you’re somewhat time because the sun goes down. And usually a plein air event has a start and stop finish. You know, and so you don’t like you’re not in your studio, where you have a year or two to put this art together. You know, you have a time and so our time was it two o’clock on that last Monday at two o’clock- 

Nathan Sack  03:57
On the 13th?

Bill Otterness  03:59
Yeah. No-

Nathan Sack  04:00
It was the ninth.

Bill Otterness  04:02
Correct. Yeah. So Monday, May 9th at two o’clock in the afternoon, the competition started. And then on Thursday, that 12th at 5pm the competition ended.

Nathan Sack  04:14
So they had like four days, basically.

Bill Otterness  04:19
Yes, yes and which is really good. And so we were able to be there every day at Loose Park from 2 to 5pm. And so that there in 2 to 5 we were we had set up so that we could check in. We had pre-registration that was occurring for the last couple months and then they would come and they would get checked in and at that point we would stamp the back of their canvases or whatever they were using to do art on. And that officially put them into the contest.

Nathan Sack  04:51
And then you’d stamp the art that way they can’t just use any canvas that they had already done.

Bill Otterness  04:56
Yeah, we know they are a part of that correct. And so that’s real that’s real common too with competitions. You get a stamp from that, from the organization is putting it on. And so we did that every day. And during that time we interacted. I set up a grill every day. And so I was able to provide hot dogs. Yeah, just hot dogs throughout that week. Again, we had, you know, all kinds of snacks donated and stuff like that.

Nathan Sack  05:19
And then you were at the Loose Park, the primary, the pavilion, right there.

Bill Otterness  05:26
And so there’s other this other group that I’ve been friends with for a long time, and she does prophetic art. And she had created this little ministry called The Prophetic Art Project. So they came down there with us every day, and was just engaging with the people in the park to do prophetic art.

Nathan Sack  05:48
Now, were they specifically The Prophetic Art Project, specifically there from 2 to 5?

Bill Otterness  05:54
2 to 5 yeah. So they came down there, they’re doing the check in time. And so you know, but the artists could do art all day every day, night mornings, whenever we would just make ourselves available at that time. Get them checked in and have them officially part of the contest. So every day we would have artists coming around, getting -you can get as many stamps as you want. So if you wanted to do 20 pieces of art you could. You know, it is crazy. One guy was getting a stamp almost every day.

Nathan Sack  06:29
So could they submit all of the art?

Bill Otterness  06:32
Up to two. We allowed them to submit up to two pieces.

Nathan Sack  06:34
Because I would say that’d be kind of hard to judge.

Bill Otterness  06:36
It would. And even at that we had, I think we had either 19 or 20 artists that entered the competition. So that gives you 40 pieces of art. But you know, they don’t all turn it- they turn in the best. Their stuff.

Nathan Sack  06:52
So this is right at you know, 51st and Troost. Right, you know, Loose Park.

Bill Otterness  06:56
So there’s actually an address for that pavilion 5110 Wornall Road. That’s it. And so it you’re just a few blocks west of UMKC. You know, and that’s a huge park.

Nathan Sack  07:11
Yeah. But your artists now you said you had how many artists that you have?

Bill Otterness  07:16
There is about there was 20 artists that were a part of the competition.

Nathan Sack  07:20
So you had 20 artists, and they were all across the city. Yeah, right. They just went-

Bill Otterness  07:24
So. So there’s zones that generally with plein air contests, they have zones, like, you know, this is your, you know, like the plaza would be a zone. And maybe, you know, Brush Creek itself would be a zone. But we allowed them to go anywhere in the city and use that as a zone. And we had some suggested zones for them to go to. And a lot of people used Loose Park, which was kind of fun, because we will get to see the artists, then.

Nathan Sack  07:54
That’s nice yeah because they’re kind of can interact with each other, too. They can walk back and forth and talk to each other.

Bill Otterness  08:00
Yeah. And they really get focused, and then they’ll lock in, especially when they get a cool part of the day when they start moving. Because it was a very hot.

Nathan Sack  08:08
It was windy that week too.

Bill Otterness  08:09
It was it was but the you know, that’s part of plein air, you are in the elements. And so you learn to work with it. Whether it’s hot, whether it’s cold, you know, they’ve been I’ve seen them out in the snow before doing work. They just resilient in that manner. So their unique little kind of clique of artists that are out there.

Nathan Sack  08:35
So how did it turn out? I mean, you say the judging happened. And then-

Bill Otterness  08:39
Yeah, so we came in, and we had a lot of wind. So we had to adjust to that to present the art judging happened well. So another interesting thing that that we were able to do for that. So we did we somebody gave us a French easel brand new in the box. And so we gave that away. Just every artist that entered the competition was- well, we had a ton of free stuff to give away. But we it was kind of like a raffle. But it was just basically, if you enter the competition, you’re automatically entered to win. And, and all that’s on the website. So we gave away $500 to a man named Donovan who painted a tree Phillips head just something about that. Like he was really moved by it. And so that and so Donovan won that. And then Liz, Liz Ortiz won the French easel out of the drawing. So we just did a drawing. But in between that. So we presented the cash prize. And then I preached to the artist so it was like my art Jesus preach. You know, but I really wanted to share with that from our heart from the heart of Genesis 1:1 and let them know exactly who we are. And you know what we’re about so everybody knows. And so that was kind of a nervous thing, too, is like, hey, we’re going to present to the city who Genesis 1:1 is, and we’re going to do it very boldly, and allow them to make a decision on their own for Jesus. So nobody really came forward to receive Jesus, but everybody was extremely receptive. Now, we had a lot of people come to Jesus throughout the week, though. We prayed with a lot of people in that park. Just from being set up there and having the prophetic art team there every day.

Nathan Sack  10:50
If just one person had come to Christ, it would have been all worth it.

Bill Otterness  10:53
Oh, yeah, there was more than one. There was more than one.

Nathan Sack  10:57
So worth it.

Bill Otterness  10:58
So the interesting thing after that-

Nathan Sack  11:01
You could put evangelists in the park, but you can’t take the-

Bill Otterness  11:05
Yeah, all you have to do is put artists in the park I found out and people will just come around and see what’s going on. And so that’s its own outreach.

Nathan Sack  11:11
What an attractor. Like you said before. Art is like a secret weapon.

Bill Otterness  11:18
It is. I’ve been I said that to somebody last night. We were talking about that. And so one, one gentleman that stood out. One gentleman that stood out to me. Donovan, he actually won the competition. And he had a big piece that he had entered too. And, you know, my little preach was about, you know, obviously Genesis 1:1, I started with that it’s a really easy segue is the first verse in the Bible. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. So you just kind of build off of that, and give the artists a lot of encouragement about how their work is unto the Lord. And I shared my testimony. And you know, and so then I was able to let them know that, you know, you could be a part of this kingdom as well. And it was a small group. We were hoping to have a lot more people there. Interesting on that day, the park was almost completely empty. It’s a weird scene. On that Thursday, yeah, the rest of the week there was people everywhere.

Nathan Sack  12:30
Like you said, it was a windy day. So-

Bill Otterness  12:31
It was kind of windy every day. It was just interesting how that turned out for us. But we had a very closed in very family network there. And so after I, I finished, Donovan came up to me, the guy that won, you know, and throughout the week, we were given away Bibles, to the people in the park. And he says, yeah, I was working on this other piece of art. And I never finished it because this kid walked past me had a Bible in his hand. So I started engaging with him, and I evangelize them for two hours, he gave his life to the Lord. And I’m like, Why, Donovan?  And I kind of thought maybe this guy could be a Christian, because I’d met him a few years ago. And I’m like, wow, he’s evangelism. But it really stirred people. And there was a lot of other artists that actually came to me and Julia, throughout the rest of that day, just pouring out. How encouraged they were that they could do this stuff unto the Lord. And just really, it flipped.

Nathan Sack  13:35
Like you said, Genesis 1:1 is a perfect segue to telling somebody about God.

Bill Otterness  13:40
And I think a lot of people in the art community don’t realize that they have this ability to do this work for the kingdom. You know, I think it’s like maybe how music would have been back in the 60s or how dance would have been back in the 80s. And then they start realizing, hey, we could do this unto the Lord, and then it’s changed.

Nathan Sack  14:03
That’s awesome. Thank you for listening to the Faith Horizons podcast. Please subscribe and like the podcasts wherever you listen, there is a subscription smart link in the show notes. You can also follow the Faith Horizons podcast on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Thanks and God bless.

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