Matt has been engaged in creative ministry for over 20 years in both the US and internationally as a worship leader, speaker and visual artisan. He is the author of “Unlocking the Heart of the Artist”, “Crafting Your Brand”, "Creativity According to the Kingdom", "Created to Thrive", "How to Connect with God to Create & Sell Your Art" and founder of The Worship Studio.
Matt is an author, worship leader, internationally-recognized award-winning contemporary basketry artist and member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. In 2011 he was listed by the Smithsonian America Museum of Art’s Renwick Gallery as an “American Artist Under 40″ and was a North Carolina Arts Council Grant Recipient. Married to Tanya, they live in Asheville, NC and have one son, Cameron.
Aeron Razz Brown was born and raised in the Inland Empire of Southern California. At the passing of his father at a young age, Aeron was submersed in his father’s sketches, lyrics and creativity. As any son does, Aeron wanted to connect with his father in the very few ways he knew how, art and music. Aeron started collaging his father’s scraps of artwork into his drawings and later on started collecting vintage found objects onto his own hand painted works of art. Aeron captures light and beauty with a modern Indie Style of acrylic paintings. He shares his vibrant, colorful, creations all over Southern California and has now become a very well established artist.
What interests me most about visual art is the story that unfolds during the creative process. Art is connected to the stories and lives of people transpiring in the world around us. I try to show this in my visual work attempting to depict the tangled web of emotions, stories, and experiences that we all share. This happens in the studio, yes, but I also try to share this experience by bringing the creation of art into public places.
By creating with musicians and speakers in a variety of settings, the audience is allowed to partake in the creative process, finding themselves personally relating to the art and internalizing their own experience with it.
Art that invokes the deepest part of a human being’s spirit, art that can make a grown man cry, make a woman labor in thought and cause a child to pause in curious reflection has always been a compelling force in Aeron’s life. Seeing through multi-colored lenses, everything becomes a source of inspiration and a form of raw creativity. Waiting, longing, groaning to be painted. It can be as simple as an outlined figure or as complex as precariously placed scripture, phrases or magazine clippings across a canvas to convey a message. Art is what inspires the soul and gives wings to the caged bird. This is just a small way to describe the art that issues forth from a man who creates out of the seasons of his life.
Jacob Daniels is a NC born artist whose art is focused on regional, spiritual, and humanitarian influences. His goal in art is to create thought-provoking imagery that is universally relatable, yet each viewer walks away with his or her own personal story. Being creative to him is discovering rather than contriving and striving. He focuses on the precise principles that are seen in nature and translates them through his style on canvas. He lives in the mountains of Boone, NC with his wife Melina and two sons Lucca and Forrest where they run their artisan gallery Common Good Co.
Jami Rains, has a BFA in Interior Design from University of Central Missouri. After graduating she had the opportunity to teach art in public and private schools in Missouri and Oklahoma. She has taught textile and fiber arts, costume design and enamel glass bead making classes at the university level as well as in her studio. Later in life Jami received her Associates of Applied Science Degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. She now works with Veterans at a local VA hospital using expressive art in therapy for PTSD, anxiety and depression.
Her positive teaching style is to create a fun and encouraging atmosphere. She feels that the sweet spot of creativity is creating in the spirit with her Creator, giving her the ability to use her imagination and skills no matter what medium she is working with; spinning fiber, felting, weaving, painting or making glass beads. She feels that art is therapeutic and healing for the body, mind and spirit when communing with the ultimate creator and designer. Jami and her husband live on a ranch in Oklahoma, and are blessed with four beautiful, creative adult children.
Amy Smith is a primarily self taught mixed media artist and creative freedom coach from Pinebluff, NC. She has been pursuing art professionally for 20 years. Amy's heart is to see people set free from limiting beliefs and false identity through art and creativity. She loves to watch her students let go of control and let the Holy Spirit take the wheel as they create. This will be Amy's third year as an instructor at GOA. It is her favorite week of the year. Amy's studio and gallery are in Seven Lakes, NC.
An Atlanta-based fine artist working primarily in acrylic, Debra Hart often combines a mixed media layering approach to the canvas through the use of interesting papers, collage, inks, and varied markmaking tools. She’s a delighted imagemaker in multiple visual arts mediums, writing, and fine art photography, which she employs in her frequent travels and documents regularly on social media.
Debra teaches locally and in the southeastern U.S., through workshops in her home studio, and private sessions. Enjoying her creative explorations as a multi-media artist, she finds her clients also delight in seeing what new things she comes up with in her unique approach to painting, commissions, shows, classes & courses. She loves to keep things interesting, possesses a natural gift of encouragement, cultivates joy, peace and laughter wherever she goes, and has a heart to see others discover and flourish in their creativity.
I've been a professional artist since 1992. I've been painting walking and hiking sticks and selling them since 2009. I have an Associate of Art degree. I have an etsy shop and a website and I sell them out of my gallery space.
Judy Goddard's Art
Karen has been a member of the Southern Highland since 1983. She is a lifelong resident of Western North Carolina. Her designs draw deeply on the natural beauty of the land of her ancestors - stitching and weaving prophetic messages into each piece.
Her fiber works have appeared in national magazines, a series of books by Lark Publishing and various galleries. She also has a piece in the permanent collection at the White House. Her most current work was for Manna Food Bank. She was asked to interpret their logo for their fundraiser, Empty Bowls, into fiber. The finished piece will hang permanently in their administrative building.
Currently she teaches sewing, quilting and fiber embellishment locally in the Asheville area. Her work has evolved from tatting, a form of lace making, to art garment and pattern design, traditional quilting and art quilting. One of her favorite areas of teaching is younger sewers and men. She loves to push the boundaries of the "normal" and explore the freer side of designing . This stems from her background in physics as well as the freedom found in her relationship with Jesus, the ultimate creator and designer.
Ever since he was a child, Matt Philleo enjoyed doing art. Born in 1977, he grew up in the central Wisconsin area. He moved around a lot and didn’t have many toys, so he drew instead.
By age 14, encouraged by his mother, he developed the skill God gave him and began to draw photo-realistically. While in high school, he took a summer art course at UW-Green Bay taught by instructor Norbert Kox that thrusted him into the world of acrylic painting. Kox taught him the Old Masters’ Renaissance glazing technique, a way of mixing acrylic paint with clear medium and applying successive translucent layers. The result is a rich, colorful surface that almost glows.
Matt painted almost exclusively in acrylic after that. In 1996, he attended the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design to further his studies.
For several years, Matt worked at many different jobs ranging from retail sales to servicing vacuum and filtration equipment. In 2009, he had a “wake-up call” when his salaried job was downsized. He launched into his childhood dream of doing art for a living--full-time--painting both portraits and Christian narrative art. It was a walk of faith. He wanted to quit several times. Sometimes he would have no money for rent. He and his wife would pray; God would supply their needs.
In 2016, Matt joined Artisan Forge Studios, a new community artist studio building in Eau Claire. Encouraged by the staff there, he began to teach portrait painting. A year later, he launched online classes and now teaches students realistic acrylic portrait painting worldwide.
After many years of renting a small apartment, in 2019, God blessed Matt and his family with a beautiful country home and studio in Chippewa Falls, Wis., close to the apple orchards.
Matt’s artwork can be seen locally at the JAMF Software building, Artisan Forge Studios, and at his own gallery in Chippewa Falls. His public artwork is located at Army hospitals in Fort Bragg and Fort Lee, Virginia. He also has private collectors worldwide, including the United Kingdom, Brunei, and Singapore.
Painting is more than just a way to make a living for Matt. It is a way to authentically share his faith as a Christian. He sincerely desires others to know God personally through the life-giving words of Jesus Christ, just as he has. Art, for him, is way to naturally open up a heart-to-heart dialogue.
Sandra Lett (Trumpfheller)
Acrylic artist who has been "in love" with acrylic painting for over 20 years now. I am a person who is always evolving, in my spiritual walk as well as my creative journey. I lean in and listen as often as I can to where God wants to take me. I have a passion especially in the last few years of sharing my skills and knowledge with others, especially through YouTube and my online tutorials. I find that we are both blessed in the process. My heart is all about being free in the moment, being in tune with God, embracing color and flow in every painting I create. My purpose is to uplift and inspire others with every piece I create.
Mary Martin is best known for her mixed media collages with organic deckled edges that incorporate hand painted papers, sheet music and hand written scriptures. Her work is influence by her love of nature and nearly 40 years of being a church choir singer and cantor, which has imprinted the words of the Psalms on her heart and mind. The words of scripture and sacred music are so deeply rooted in her being that they naturally express themselves in her art. Working with themes of peace and joy expressed with nature inspired elements, Martin begins each work of art by choosing a scripture that matches the theme of the collage. She incorporates the scripture into the artwork by writing it on the base layer of paper. She layers sheet music with lyrics about peace or joy under painted papers, creating tranquil abstracts, landscapes, seascapes and floral images. Her intent is to create a space with the art where viewers can experience a moment of peace and joy within themselves.
Kelly Postle McLellan has been pondering the “deep and hidden things” for as long as she can remember. As a teen, she was drawn to the arts and explored forms of expression such as poetry, journaling, jewelry making and drawing. Kelly attended the University of Florida where she studied psychology and the mind-body connection and went on to receive a Masters in Health Science Education specializing in holistic health.
Kelly has been practicing yoga and making art for over 25 years now and teaching for almost as long! Kelly is a lover of God and a follower of Jesus- studying his life and teachings and learning to live and love with His heart. She believes that “all truth is God’s truth” and is passionate about studying the Bible, as well as searching for Truth in unexpected places!
Lisa Kidd is the Founder and Director of Arts Evangelica, an international prophetic and performance art ministry. Passion, Wonder and Adventure are the heart of Arts Evangelica taking the Kidd family and their Dance Company to minister on dirt floors in remote villages to the finest of stages - wherever God leads.
The dramatic and creative expressions of Arts Evangelica are a bridge to all cultures. Lisa has a unique and innovative approach to teaching and communicating and she specializes in using movement and prophetic acts to help children and adults advance past trauma to find healing and deliverance. Lisa is a living love letter to God and her testimonies and true stories will inspire you to believe for more and to do great exploits!
I am married to my husband, Kenny, and we just celebrated 23 years. We have no children except our dog, Zoey (yes, I consider her my child). I have worked in education my entire working career. I have been teaching people, in one way or another, my whole life. Being creative has always been a passion and a need for me. I began creating jewelry with beading, and I did so for years. The last several years, I moved to metal and LOVE IT! I find creating jewelry for others is my favorite thing.
Hope & Joy Co
Luann was trained classically at the American Academy of Art, which led to a career as a professional portrait painter and illustrator, and she has taught many adult and children’s art classes. In recent years, her work is becoming more textural and leaning toward the abstract—incorporating recycled and found objects in mosaic, encaustic, jewelry, and even some sculpture.
As I look back over a lifetime of creating artwork, I see that God has had me on a journey of discovery with Him. Art was always my profession... I didn’t know how to let go and just enjoy the process, but that is changing. I love to try new things, push the boundaries, color outside the lines. I am beginning to understand that I was created to be a storyteller through this art. I want my work to convey His story, His heart for us, and His peace and healing.
Luann Smith Online
Diane McFerrin is a mixed media artist living in Black Mountain NC, She began with an art degree from Georgetown College and began to fully step into her call as an artist in 2004. Recently she has taught workshops on art and prayer in her home studio, The Gathering of Artisans, Draw Near Retreats, in the South East and at Nest Studio in Asheville North Carolina. "I believe that creativity is a universal language, and when given the opportunity, most people enjoy the process of exploring what their hearts love."
Sandy has been an acrylic painter and a live visual artist for the last 20 years. Sandy has painted at churches, conferences, retreats and mission bases. Has had an itinerant art/prayer ministry since 2001.
Her preferred mediums are: acrylic paint, canvas, wood, mixed media, ink, stencils and floristry.
Jim & Pat Banks
Jim and Pat Banks have been engaged in inner healing and deliverance for over 35 years. The last 17 have been involved in it full time. Although the Trauma Prayer found on YouTube.com has brought them some quiet notoriety, their focus has been helping individual recover the essence of who they are and why they were created.
That can be synthesized in the recovery and/or establishment of the fullness of an individual's personal identity that the traumas and struggles of life have tried to diminish, cover up or completely crush, all of which have a direct negative effect on expressing creativity.
Together they have authored 20 books and travel internationally to teach, train and do personal ministry.
Amy has been working in fine art stained glass mosaics for 20 years , with early influences of New Mexico art as a child and later when she toured overseas as a soloist seeing the beautiful European churches. “ I had always wanted to try a mosaic so I decided to make my first one be a 6ft dining room table ! I’ve always been known to bite off more than I could chew but this proved to be even more challenging ! I’m high energy , so for me, it was like God gave me mosaics to slow down my mind and make it meditative .........it’s just me and him in the studio and that gives me an instant way to be in the present moment with him !”
Amy has been a featured artist for The Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine Texas for three years now and has made commission pieces for entertainers such as Neal McCoy and Wade Bowen. A few years ago Amy started sculpting and this has given her a unique styling that she refers to as painting in glass , to add realism and life to her pieces . It is Amy’s goal to teach in a way that she helps her students find their own creative voice in mosaics and nurture their artistic path !
Lynda Sondles is a fiber artist and painter living in Weaverville, NC. She began quilting 20 years ago when a colleague offered to teach a quilting class. She was intrigued by the social aspect of quilting, as well as by the seemingly endless possibilities for combining geometric shapes and colors to make pleasing designs. A self-taught artist, she had spent the early part of her career exploring the use of color in other mediums – sumi-e painting, stained glass, soft pastels and basketry. The added dimension of pattern and texture in fabric piqued her interest and challenged her to push the color envelope with this medium. The world of quilting introduced Lynda to collaboration with other artists and quilters, where they made 20 quilts for victims of Hurricane Katrina and for Project Linus. She also made five quilts as fundraisers for Joyful Noise Community Music & Arts Center in Weaverville¸ NC and taught art quilting and visual arts at several of their summer camps.
Raised in Ohio, Lynda has made her home near Weaverville, NC since 2001, where the beautiful mountain and woodland scenery continues to inspire and challenge her. She exhibits her work at Eco-Depot Marketplace in Asheville’s River Arts District. Her work is in private collections throughout the US and around the world.
Angela is a contemporary mixed media artist who re purposes paper and litter to create legacy paintings, unique and one of a kind. This process allows for her clients to be part of the art-making process.
Most often, her work features mixed media and texture, creating a deeply layered and mystical effect. The viewer finds themselves draw in, trying to guess what materials were used.
Bryn Gillette is a painter and teacher passionate to “raise up a generation of Kingdom-hearted artists”. For twenty years he has been fusing his pursuit of Jesus and his craft of painting through studio art work, commissions, and live prophetic painting, and for all that time he has been investing in youth as a camp counselor, pastor, and since 2010 as a full-time teacher. Bryn is the co-founder of TeamOne:27, a non-profit dedicated to serving the needs of Haitian orphans since 2008 (team127.org), and is an artistic ambassador and champion of Haiti in that role. Bryn holds an M.F.A. in painting and lives with his wife and four children in NC where he is currently the high school art teacher at Charlotte Christian School.
Anne Conover earned a BA degree from Converse College (Spartanburg, SC), in Art History/ Studio Art and a D. Min. (Doctor of Ministry) from Wesley Theological Seminary, (Washington, DC), in The Arts and Theology. As the daughter of an artist, she has been involved in the visual arts all her life. She is primarily an oil painter and enjoys painting portraits, still life and landscapes. In addition, she enjoys abstract painting in oil or acrylic. She is a former elementary/middle school art teacher. Anne engages in teaching and encouraging people of all ages.
Anne currently serves as Artist in Residence at College Place UMC in Greensboro, NC, where her studio, “Space for Grace,” is located. In her role as Artist in Residence, she has created and oversees programs in arts ministry to all age levels within the church and community. The idea that art can be a means of grace as we open ourselves to God’s gift of creativity and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us is what energizes her ministry.
She hosts and participates in a weekly artists portrait group at her studio. In addition, Anne is active through shows and classes with the Art Alliance of Greensboro and local arts organizations. Anne has presented workshops for and consulted with churches across Western North Carolina regarding their sacred space, the use of visuals, and visual art in worship. She is represented by South Winds Gallery in Kernersville, NC and Sunshine Village Gallery in Watkinsville, Ga.
Anne is a member of Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA), The Portrait Society of America, and the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society (NOAPS). She is ordained clergy in the United Methodist Church.
Margie & Lonnie Johnson
Margie is a full-time creative artist working in multiple mediums (ceramics, oils, acrylics, watercolor, charcoal, and mixed media). Lonnie is a full-time designer and marketing director working in a variety of digital and traditional mediums (ceramics, digital painting, acrylics, and mixed media). Together, Lonnie and Margie are launching a new Creative Community at their local church and are excited about the vision that God is birthing in their local body.
Both of them have experienced first-hand the transformational power of co-creating with Holy Spirit and having Him bring deep healing and freedom through that process. Both Lonnie & Margie have learned to love the synergy that is brought to their work by partnering with one another and with the guidance of God's leading through the process. As many other artists have discovered, they know and value the intimate leading of God at all stages of a creation. Together they have a passion for building up and imparting these truths to the Body of Christ and seeing people walk in freedom and wholeness.
Our Creative Adventure
Sherry Masters is a native of the Asheville, NC region. She is self-employed as owner of Art Connections. Established in 2013, this company is service oriented and designed to offer participants curated tours of artists' studios, galleries and art attractions. Masters' background includes 30 years as a gallery buyer, a general manager in 2 area craft galleries, and regional 'art insider'.
In 2018 Sherry was tour chairperson for Summer of Glass in Western NC, and is presently co-chairperson of American Craft Week, a national celebration in its 11th year. In 2020 Art Connections is branching out to include art consultation for area homeowners.
Born in south Florida into a family of artists, Robin has painted since she was old enough to hold the brush. She spent a short time at Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL, and graduated as a cabinetmaker from Pinellas Technical College. Her favorite medium is oils and loves to work en plein air. She teaches at John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, and in many locations throughout the south.
Julie Bagamary, Fiber Artist, Teacher & Speaker for over 30 years specializes in creating Improvisational Quilted Art from a Spirit filled perspective. Julie enjoys breathing new life into primarily re-purposed batik and hand dyed fabrics that are then enhanced with hand & machine quilting, mixed media techniques and unique embellishments to create one-of-a kind art pieces. Passing along her passion, Julie teaches groups and private lessons.
Jill has been creating art for over 40 years and earned her BFA in Painting from the University of West Georgia in 1991. She works as a professional painter and instructor, currently teaching painting to adult and high school students on a weekly basis.
Jill enjoys investing her skills into others while inspiring them to grow in their own creative gifts. She lives in Dallas, Georgia with her husband and two teenage sons. You can see samples of Jill's work and learn more by visiting her website:
Cindy Walton, a committed artist from childhood, and a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, moved to Asheville in 1988. She earned a BA in art from Salem College, and returned to UNCA for her BFA. Represented by galleries throughout the southeast and elsewhere. Walton is a recipient of a Virginia Center for Creative Arts fellowship (Amherst, Virginia) and, also of a North Carolina Arts Council Regional Artist Project Grant. She is a regular participant in the invitational Winter Show at Green Hill Center for the NC Arts in Greensboro, NC. She teaches nationally most notably in Asheville, Atlanta and at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Her work is in the collections of Mission Hospital, Asheville, NC, City Bank Corporation and other entities and in numerous private collections
“I seek to project authentic intimate interpretations of the world as I encounter it—coast and mountains, past and present.” — Cindy Walton
My art lives in the ordinary place of a simple everyday life. Expressing for the sheer love of the form is an extraordinary event for this artist, and I cherish my fascination with it.
I paint because, I can’t not paint. It’s the place where I feel understood. It’s a selfish place, where I care for me. It’s a place where I steward God’s gift to me, and I let Him love me there. None of this is to say, I haven’t worked hard developing the gift, but I do tend to it each and every day in one way or another because I get to.
Out of that fullness, comes an “otherly” generosity that seeks to share the paintings I make. In doing so, I’m amazed when it touches vulnerable places in people from all over the world. It’s not planned. I’m confounded and humbled by that reaction. I am very glad when it happens, although I never deliberately go for that. I just paint my real. My day. I paint for process. Heck, I just love to paint. That is my intention.
My art biography is long and extensive as I enter into my golden years. In short, after 26 years as a graphic designer/art director and creative director, I moved on to fine art in 2000. I taught weekly classes as well as workshops for over 12 years, as I made awarded, and widely collected paintings. I've enjoyed many gallery shows, several of which were one woman, and now my art, sold on Instagram is collected world wide. I'm blessed to have a large following there of over 56K.
As an "influencer" (whatever that means), I hope to pass the torch by not only continuing to grow as a paintier, but also--to make painters, as well as disciples of Jesus Christ. He's increased my reach.
Sara is known for the joy she carries in whatever she is doing, which happens to include gardening in her backyard, taking daily walks with her her two dogs and experiencing adventures to the end of the earth. Now in her early 60's, she is a growing as an artist, author, educator and mentor of hearing God's voice. Recently she has been told that she flunked retirement. Sara worked in Texas public schools in the roles of teacher and principal in the elementary, middle school and administrative levels. She received her Doctorate of Education in K-12 School Leadership and retired after a successful 24-year career. She now lives in Wimberley, Texas with her husband, Wayman (My Man). She has two sons, a stepson, three daughters-in-love and three grandchildren.
Small Beginnings: A Journey to the Impossible is her first published book (released June 2019) about her journey of becoming an artist after believing for 56 years she was not an artist. She shares testimonies of how her art speaks about the love of Jesus and her own personal goal setting examples for those searching for small business advisors and artist mentoring programs.
Sara has been practicing her calling of becoming an artist for God since she heard God's calling in October 2014. She has painted and sold over 1100 paintings since that call. Sara had never considered herself an artist, in fact had never taken an art class before God told her who she was.
Teaching classes about hearing God's voice and holding retreats to help others hear God's voice in the creative process is now one of her life's purposes. She travels to other countries to teach and release the belief that we are all created to create. Sara has a heart of encouragement and intercession to release hope and light and love of Jesus to others. She also paints as part of the Bethel Austin Prophetic Art Team.
Sara and Wayman started an art ministry called Acts 1:8 Blessings in early 2017. Much of their profits go towards helping make the name of Jesus famous all over the world to missionaries and those in need in their own community and beyond.