My experience with visual art as a ministry in church has been quite disappointing unfortunately, and even more so when I was freelancing full time. Most of the time the leadership doesn't understand art a lot or consider it seriously as a ministry, except for the ad-hoc occasions where they want an illustration or stage props. It's probably mostly up to the artist to suggest how the art can be used for ministry.
Where I'm from, art can be very cheap and ministry leaders can expect the artist to do things for free even if they know he does it for a living (and probably has to charge other Christian organizations who commission a piece of work). If you do it for free for one, others would expect the same. Other artists friends also face similar frustrations in church, and we find people often take our service in this area for granted, even to the point of asking for repeated changes to designs with little show of appreciation for our sacrifice of time and effort at times. It becomes something like dealing with clients, but without getting paid, and instead being expected to serve in view of some obscure idea of a heavenly reward. As a result I avoided doing illustrations for church ministries and members for free most of the time and only agreed on very rare occasions. Even now though I've stopped freelancing, I'm still very wary when people ask me to volunteer my artistic talents in church, and am very selective with what I agree to.
That being said, my visual arts ministry at this point operates outside the church. I produce illustrated stationery for sale, and most of the illustrations are based on Scripture (www.wensworld.com). It's as close to being a steward of my gifts as I can get to for now as it allows me the freedom of illustrating what's on my heart and reaching a wide audience at my own pace.
To me, art is a powerful means of communication. I've been reading this book Modern Art and the Death of a Culture by Rookmaaker, and realise how the church needs to reclaim this gift of God for His glory instead of allow the secular world to dictate what art ought to be. The book is a definite must-read for Christian artists to understand how history has influenced art and culture and vice versa. It reminded me of Ecclesiastes and Romans 1 where in the world's rejection of God, it has stumbled blind while professing to be wise and resulted only in greater ignorance and darkness. The church today is all the poorer for its failure to realise the importance of art in the work of God.