He started a revolution in Christian art in 1989 by painting "Spiritual Warfare." Now renowned artist Ron DiCianni is the featured speaker at Masterpiece Christian Artists Conference to be held May 9 through 12 at Box R Ranch on Highway 66 outside of Ashland.

DiCianni's passion for the power and purpose of art will be his topic for the conference and hopes to lift the bar of vision for all who attend. Wikipedia identifies DiCianni as the leader in the field of modern Christian artists.

Joining DiCianni is a number of other regional and national artists, musicians, and Christian leaders gathered to encourage the expression of the arts in the church.

The conference features speakers such as Medford native Chris Hopkins, nationally known artist, illustrator, and singer and guitarist Bob Bennett, a Christian music legend, who will perform a benefit concert on Friday, May 11 at 7:30 at the Ranch.

Among the purposes of the conference: "What is the place and the purpose of the gift of the arts in the individual, the church and culture," and, "Will art leave a visual mark of truth for our day and for generations to come."

A number of workshops will also be offered. Semyon Bilmes of the Ashland Academy of the Arts will teach the fundamentals of drawing. Western artists and marketing specialist Kim Ragsdale will offer "Presenting Powerful Portfolios." Local pastel artist Karen Cain- Smith will be teaching a mixed media sampler workshop and hosting a plein aire class. Other workshops include Building a Personal Website for Artists. Individual critique sessions are also available for attending artists with Chris Hopkins, Dennis Lewis the 2006 President of the Society of Western Artists, and Karen Cain Smith.

Medford native, Steve Hopkins, pastor of Calvary Chapel of Salem, will lead worship and share encouraging words for artists and the church.

The Friday night concert which is open to the public will benefit the "Let There Be Light" international traveling art exhibit. The exhibit is the concept of the conference director Jeanne Randall along with her brother-in-law, Frederic Ballon, the educational director of Christie's Art and Auction in Paris. The exhibit will travel to Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, New York and Paris and feature outstanding works of light. Friday night's concert includes art exhibit of over 75 pieces of original art by attending artists, the Bob Bennet concert and a dessert. All are welcome Friday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. $15 for adults and $7.50 for children.

Complete information and online registration is available at or call 482-1873.