About the 7 Day Bible Art Challenge™

An Artistic Encounter with the Word of God.

The Holy Scriptures of the Bible have served as inspiration to artists for centuries. The 7 Day Bible Art Challenge™ challenges today’s artists to look to the Book for that same inspiration. 7dayart.com provides churches and faith-based organizations a way to reach their local communities through a friendly one-week competition that appeals to amateur and professional artists alike, with real prizes for achievement, and a themed exhibit that brings notoriety to both artists and the host church or organization.

What does 7dayArt.com do?

This Website was created to help churches and faith-based organizations, art clubs and even businesses reach local artist communities with the Word of God. Through a subscription model, we offer proven guidelines, sample forms, templates and other tools that you can use to mount a successful 7 Day Bible Art Challenge in your community. We're providing information, encouragement and a national brand that you can leverage for credibility.

The History of 7 Day Art

The 7 Day Bible Art Challenge™ (and 7dayart.com) was conceived by Steve Puffenberger, a member of the Visual Arts Ministry at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church (UALC) in Columbus, Ohio. Steve is an award-winning video producer and founder of Advent Media, Inc., a digital creative agency. He is also a board member of the 168 Film Project, a global Christian filmmaking competition.

At UALC, a “committee” was formed in the 1990s to manage the artwork around the church which became known as the Visual Arts Ministry. In 1999 a new campus was built with wide long hallways. VAM members looked at the hallway and said, “this would be a great gallery space,” so they purchased a hanging system and began inviting local artists, art groups and art clubs to use the space for their exhibits.

In 2013, the pastor at UALC wanted all ministry groups to focus around the church’s mission, “to be and to make disciples of Jesus Christ.” While VAM's practice of bringing in outside art groups potentially brought unchurched people through our doors, it wasn’t exactly an active outreach. From Steve's experience with the 168 Film Project, which challenges filmmakers to shoot and edit a short film in one week (168 hours), VAM considered what would happen if that same challenge was made to local artists, and thus the 7 Day Bible Art Challenge was born. Artists would have 168 hours (exactly one week) to deliver a completed artwork based on the Bible verse assigned to them.

It took more than 4 years to get all the pieces in place, and in 2017 we held our first event, with about 25 participants. With the exception of the pandemic year of 2021, it's become an annual tradition at UALC.

After four successful events since 2017, producing more than 125 art pieces in total, the team was interested in seeing this concept expand and we are currently seeking support to help expand the reach of the challenge to other communities.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Why Seven Days?
We like to say, "If God can create a universe in seven days, surely an artist can do a painting in that time." Seriously, though, a hard deadline inspires creativity, innovation, spontenaity, and panic. It can put participants in a place where they have to trust the Holy Spirit to move through them to illustrate the Word that's assigned, and that's why we call it "an artistic encounter with the Word of God."

Are there rules?
To use the 7 Day Bible Art Challenge brand and the guidance and tools we provide, churches or organizations must have a few rules for artists:

  1. All art must be based on passages solely from the Bible
  2. All art must be original - not pre-existing
  3. All art must be created in a 168-hour, 7 day period
  4. Judging of art must apply equal weight to "Scriptural Integration" and "Technical Quality"
Beyond these must-haves, local organizers have free rein to conduct the competition however best fits their local communities within the terms of the Subscription Agreement.

How is art juried?
Normally 50% of the “grade” is for Scriptural Integration (how well the artwork captures the intent of the assigned Bible verse or passage), and 50% is for technical quality. Ultimately it's a subjective call on the part of the jurors the organizer recruits as to which artworks best capture the scope of the Bible passage with excellent art technique. We at 7dayArt.com do not judge any art - we leave that up to the local organizers.

What art can be submitted?
In our pilots, any kind of art was allowed as long as it could hang on a wall, because our gallery space was limited to wall art. Besides physical limits like size or mounting, some organizers may want to limit it to a certain medium if their jury members aren't familiar with other types.  The choice is entirely up to the organizing team.

Will this affect the church budget?
In our pilots we have operated with zero impact to the church budget by incurring minimal costs and charging entry fees sufficient to cover expenses. You will want your organization's financial people to handle the money. The Guidebook offers several options that organizers can use or modify.

Why are there prizes and entry fees?
If an organizer wants to offer the contest with no entry fee and token prizes (or none at all), that's fine. We found that cash or material prizes are an incentive for people who may not be inclined to participate without the chance of a tangible reward. To keep it budget neutral, entry fees can cover the prizes and expenses, unless you can recruit sponsors, get donations or make it part of your church budget. Entry fees also promote "buy-in," so artists are more likely to take the Challenge seriously.

Who owns the art?
With our pilots, the artist owns the art and can sell it, but artists agree to display their art in our gallery for the duration of the exhibit, and  grant permission to use photographs of the art for promotional purposes. Organizers can change these terms if they desire.

Can a Challenge be used as a fundraiser?
It certainly can. The Guidebook outlines several options to use a Challenge as a fundraiser for a church or nonprofit.

Can the organizer(s) be compensated?
That is up to your team. We have no restriction on how funds you raise can be used. However, the Subscription Agreement states that to be able to use our brand, you must be under some kind of financial accountability umbrella, such as a church or other established organization, so that financial irregularities do not tarnish your reputation or our brand.

Can churches compete with each other?
A friendly rivalry can enliven a competition like this, so yes. Your subscription entitles you to use our brand for an event with one physical location, but you can invite other churches to participate in the same event. Have fun with it - every one wins because they're all encountering the Word of God in a new and fresh way.

Does it have to be a church?
Anyone can organize a 7 Day Bible Art Challenge.  It just takes a team of people to make and execute the plan. The Guidebook is written from the perspective of a church, but other organizations can subscribe, including nonprofits such as art clubs, and businesses such as art stores, art schools or galleries.

What about youth or amateurs?
Because it can seem a little unfair to have youth or amateurs competing with professional artists, you can set up divisions and have separate awards for best-in-class. The possibilities are endless. However the "great equalizer" is the Word of God. Because "Scriptural Integration" is 50% of the score, an amateur painting could outscore a pro.

Can schools use it?
Parochial schools would have no problem, and it could make for an interesting competition between schools in a city.  If a student brought a church’s competition to the attention of fellow students in public school, that would be good too, provided students competed on their own time. There might be issues if a public school organized a Challenge, but if they teach the Bible as literature, art departments may be able to support it. You’d have to clear it with the public school administration.

Does it have to be the Bible?
Well, if it isn’t the Bible, you have to call it the “7 Day Art Challenge.” But you can subscribe and use our resources to do a focused art competition from other reference material. You just can't repackage our content and sell it by another name. 

How does the Website Subscription work?
 As the event organizer, you can purchase a subscription to 7dayart.com. Depending on the subscription level, you will have access to the tools and guidelines for one year. You also have permission to use the national "7day" brand for one year for as many events in one location as you'd like to organize in that year. Your event will be listed on our Website, and depending on subscription level, news and announcements of your event can be posted on our Events page. To continue using the 7 Day Art model and the brand, an annual subscription renewal is required. The Subscription Agreement contains a non-compete/non-disclosure clause, which means you cannot repackage our material and resell it or give it to another organizer to use.

Do I have to subscribe to have an art competition?
Absolutely not!  We claim no rights to the concept of an art competition. But you can't use the words "7 Day Bible Art Challenge, " "7 Day Art" or our logo, and you can't use our Guidebook materials without a subscription.

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