Home : Blog

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Join Us for White Linen Night

On Saturday, August 2, 2014, the New Orleans Arts District will once again host the annual Whitney White Linen Night centered on the 300 to 600 blocks of Julia Street.  From 6:00 – 9:00 PM, galleries open their doors to thousands of patrons encouraged to wear outfits featuring white linen.

This year, we are happy to be participating again! The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts will be open at 747 Magazine Street, just a block off of Julia Street. 

Come by to see winning artwork from our annual high school art contest, as well as original works of art by George Rodrigue.  Additionally, we will have copies of The Pot & The Palette Cookbook for sale.  This publication, produced in partnership with the Louisiana Restaurant Association, is illustrated by Louisiana students and features 100 recipes from the state’s greatest chefs.

For White Linen Night, we are offering the Cookbook at the special price of $20.00!

Grab your white linen suit and be sure to visit us at 747 Magazine Street. We look forward to seeing you at Whitney White Linen Night!  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Looking Back on the Second Annual Summer Institute

400+ Teachers Receive Professional Development in Arts-Integration That Will Impact the Lives of Over 5,000 Louisiana Families

From July 20-25, 2014, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was home to the Louisiana A+ Schools Summer Institute presented by Chevron, a transformative professional development opportunity for all teachers in the LAA+ network.  This year GRFA worked with nine schools in the LAA+ program:

1.  South Highlands Elementary Magnet in Shreveport
2.  Grace Episcopal School in Monroe
3.  Epiphany Day School in New Iberia
4.  The Dufrocq School in Baton Rouge
5.  Riverside Academy in Reserve
6.  Martin Behrman Academy in New Orleans
7.  Homer A. Plessy Community School in New Orleans*
8.  St. Helena Arts & Technology Academy in Greensburg*
9.  Homer Elementary School in Homer*

*Also a member school of the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities' Turnaround Arts: Louisiana.

Although these institutions are scattered across the state, they share a common mission to use arts integration to inspire students and transform their schools.  Each day at the Summer Institute featured engaging workshops to provide teachers with the tools and resources necessary to implement the Eight A+ Essentials into their curriculum.

The three new schools added this year will also be part of the Turnaround Arts: Louisiana initiative, a program of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.  GRFA is honored to have been selected as the Louisiana program director and looks forward to using the A+ method to turnaround these schools using the arts.

We were fortunate to have Kathy Fletcher, National Director of Turnaround Arts, speak to attendees on our opening night.  As our three new Turnaround A+ Schools prepare for the coming school year, her message of the importance of arts in the classroom was especially relevant.  We were also excited to have a special presentation from Dr. James Catterall of UCLA, who along with his research team will be conducting a multi-year study of the LAA+ program.

Dr. James Catterall and Turnaround Arts Director Kathy Fletcher each addressed attendees on the opening night.

Our teachers hit the ground running the next day with multiple arts integration workshops.  Whether using music to teach math or theater to teach the life cycle of a butterfly, the sessions explored techniques for engaging students.

Participants enjoyed dinner and music at Vermilionville Living History and Folk Like Park.  That evening, GRFA was presented a donation of $15,000 from the principal of A+ affiliate South Highlands Elementary Magnet to support arts integration professional development.

Dinner at Vermilionville

GRFA Executive Director Jacques Rodrigue accepts a check from South Highlands Elementary Magnet.

We are so grateful to the fellows of the Oklahoma A+ Schools program for lending their assistance and expertise throughout the week.  In addition, we extend our gratitude to Chevron for sponsoring with LAA+ Summer Institute.  This professional development is crucial to our program, and we couldn't have done it without their support.

Be on the lookout for updates throughout the year from our nine Louisiana A+ Schools!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

GRFA in Lafayette for Louisiana A+ Schools

The Second Annual LAA+ Summer Institute

We are delighted to share that our second annual Louisiana A+ Schools Summer Institute is underway! Educators from all nine of our A+ Schools have gathered at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for an intensive professional development in arts integration.

So what do you get when you bring together over 400 Louisiana teachers and the Eight Essentials of the LAA+ Schools program? You get an exciting professional development bursting with creative energy and workshops designed to integrate arts into all parts of curriculum. Through arts integration, our A+ teachers will help transform their schools into thriving institutions where students have the confidence and creativity to meet the challenges of the 21st century. We are inspired by their enthusiasm and passion for education and look forward to working with them more as they embark on a new academic year as part of the Louisiana A+ School network.

Be sure to watch the fun as it happens! Follow the LAA+ Summer Institute on Twitter at #aplusla and @APlusLA!

A Night to Support GRFA and LAA+

On July 17th, Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Savoie hosted a fundraiser at their home on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Thank you to the friends and supporters who gathered to raise funds for GRFA and the Louisiana A+ Schools program. We are especially grateful to Chevron for their official sponsorship of the event and the LAA+ Summer Institute! Because of their support, we are able to continue our mission to impact youth development through the arts. Thank you!

Representatives from Chevron present a check for $50,000 to GRFA Executive Director Jacques Rodrigue at July 17th fundraiser.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Educators in Virginia for Turnaround Arts Leadership Retreat

Three principals and eight teachers from GRFA's Louisiana A+ Schools joined Director Bethany France and Deputy Director Kim Leavitt for 5 days of intensive training at the Turnaround Arts Leadership Retreat outside of Alexandria, VA.  Turnaround Arts, a national reform initiative under the President's Committee on the Arts and  Humanities, is designed to utilize the arts to "turn around" failing schools.  The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, through the LAA+ program, was one of six new sites recently added to phase 2 of the initiative.

Educators from Louisiana's three Turnaround Arts schools attend the Leadership Retreat in Virginia.

Drumming, anyone?

Dance is one of many ways educators create arts-integrated curriculum.

Turnaround Arts is unique in that each school is assigned a celebrity artist who makes site visits throughout the school year, working in classrooms with students and providing professional development workshops.  Nigel Lythgoe, creator of "American Idol" and a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance?", was the artist-in-residence at the retreat and took workshops alongside participants.

LAA+Deputy Director Kim Leavitt (left) and Director Bethany France (right) are joined by Turnaround Artist Nigel Lythgoe (center) during the workshops.

Principals and teachers gained invaluable insight into strategies such as managing classroom behavior through drama and integrating visual art into reading.  Sessions were taught by nationally known teaching artists from the Kennedy Center.  Turnaround Arts kicks off in three Louisiana schools this Fall:  Homer Elementary in Homer, St. Helena Arts and Technology Academy in Greensburg, and Homer Plessy Charter School in New Orleans.