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Thursday, October 30, 2014

GRFA Brings Arts Education to California

Carmel is a unique seaside community in California where cottages and galleries line the streets. It was here in 1991 that George Rodrigue decided to establish a gallery in addition to his Louisiana locations, and the Rodrigue Studio has had a home there ever since. (Read more about the history of the Carmel gallery here.)

To honor George Rodrigue's connection to the Carmel community, the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts was recently in the area to provide arts education outreach and gallery field trips to local schools, as well as a family art making event for the public.

As director of Turnaround Arts: Louisiana, an arts integration initiative of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, GRFA had the opportunity to visit Mary Chapa Literacy and Technology Academy, a Turnaround Arts: California school in Greenfield, CA. Fifth grade students at Mary Chapa attended a special presentation by Jacques Rodrigue, George's son, about the landscape, Cajun, and Blue Dog paintings of his father's career. They were then invited to create their own Blue Dog paintings using their imagination and a guided drawing activity. We are so grateful to the educators and students of Mary Chapa for welcoming us to their school and sharing their creativity!

GRFA staff and Executive Director Jacques Rodrigue get creative with fifth grade students at Mary Chapa Literacy and Technology Academy in Greenfield, CA.

The following afternoon, GRFA hosted "Blue Dog" in the Park Family Day in the green space adjacent to the Rodrigue Studio. Families from near and far were invited to create their own Blue Dog masks or ornaments, have their faces painted with Halloween characters, and take a tour of the original George Rodrigue paintings in the gallery.

There were art activities for the whole family at "Blue Dog" in the Park Family Day.

On Monday, fifth grade students from Mary Chapa Academy and fourth grade students from Carmel River School visited Rodrigue Studio for a special tour led by Jacques Rodrigue and participated in art making activities that explored chemistry, color theory, and nature. Students sculpted the life cycle of a butterfly and made their own "gak" material.

Students from Mary Chapa Academy and Carmel River School visit Rodrigue Studio and use the arts to learn about nature and science.

Advocating for youth development through the arts is at the heart of all we do, and we had a wonderful time in Carmel engaging students and the community through art! Thank you to everyone in Carmel who helped make our visit a memorable one and our events a success.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Turnaround Artists Alfre Woodard and Trombone Shorty Inspire Students

On Monday morning, the dance team and marching band lined the walkway outside of St. Helena Arts and Technology Academy in Greensburg, LA, to welcome a very special guest. Alfre Woodard, an actor and Turnaround Artist with the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH), had arrived to serve as a creative mentor to the students and inspire them to pursue their goals and education through the arts. As part of the Turnaround Arts: Louisiana program, St. Helena was selected with two other schools to be transformed through arts integration.

GRFA Executive Director Jacques Rodrigue and Turnaround Artist Alfre Woodard visit with students at St. Helena Arts and Technology Academy in Greensburg, LA.

Students welcome Alfre Woodard as their Turnaround Artist.

After a special acting workshop with Alfre Woodard, students pose for a group photo with Jacques Rodrigue and Tunaround Arts Director Cathy Fletcher.

It was just this year that the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts was selected by the PCAH to implement the Turnaround Arts initiative at three schools in the state using the Louisiana A+ Schools method of arts integration. Already the teachers and students of our Turnaround A+ Schools are embracing the arts in curriculum -- creative projects line the halls, music can be heard in classrooms, and student engagement is reaching a new level.

A student at Homer A. Plessy Community School in New Orleans presents flowers to Alfre Woodard.

Turnaround Artist Trombone Shorty with student at Homer A. Plessy Community School.

As part of the national Turnaround Arts initiative, Turnaround Artists like Woodard adopt schools and work directly with students, teachers, and parents from the community to draw attention to the impact of the arts on a school's transformation.  In addition to visiting the schools, the Turnaround Artists connect with students throughout the year via Skype.

Alongside Woodard, Turnaround Artist Troy Andrews, better known as Trombone Shorty, visited Homer A. Plessy Community School in New Orleans on Tuesday to see the arts in action in the classrooms and communicate how arts in education can impact their academic and creative potential.

Students do a musical performance for special guests Alfre Woodard and Trombone Shorty.

Woodard reads to students at Homer A. Plessy Community School.

We are so excited to have these exceptional artists as part of Turnaround Arts: Louisiana and look forward to a successful, creative school year for our Turnaround A+ Schools.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bringing Arts Education to Carmel, CA

The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts will be heading to Carmel, California, this October to provide exciting arts education opportunities for local students and community members. Since 1991, the Rodrigue Studio has been part of the Carmel-by-the-Sea arts scene, introducing the West Coast to the artistic legacy of George Rodrigue. (Visit Musings of an Artist’s Wife to read about the history of the Rodrigue Studio in Carmel.)

Rodrigue Studio in Carmel, CA

While in Carmel in late October, GRFA will be visiting Mary Chapa Literacy and Technology Academy for a morning of creativity. Located in Greenfield, CA, Mary Chapa is part of the Turnaround Arts network of schools. This program, which GRFA administers in Louisiana, is an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. We are delighted to visit Mary Chapa to bring art into fifth grade classrooms and introduce students to the work of George Rodrigue.

Introducing students to the arts is a fundamental part of our mission.  With this in mind, we will be providing buses to students from Mary Chapa Literacy and Technology Academy and Carmel River School to visit the Rodrigue Studio for special tours the George Rodrigue Memorial Retrospective Exhibition.  Students will have the opportunity to explore examples from the entirety of George’s career, from oak trees and Cajuns to the Blue Dog.  Additionally, both Mary Chapa and Carmel River School will be receiving art supply kits from George’s Art Closet.

On October 25, 2014, we invite you to join us for “Blue Dog” in the Park! (See flyer above).  From 1:00 – 3:00 PM, we will be in Piccadilly Courtyard next to Rodrigue Studio for a community art-making event.  This free, public event is full of activities for the whole family including face painting and hands-on projects that explore nature, science, and the creative process. Enjoy light refreshments and visit the Rodrigue Studio to view the memorial retrospective exhibition before it closes in January 2015.

We look forward to welcoming you to “Blue Dog” in the Park on Saturday, October 25th, and advocating for arts in education in the Carmel community!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Arts in Action: Visiting Three LAA+ Schools

Students and teachers at our nine Louisiana A+ Schools (LAA+) are well into the new academic year, creating dynamic classrooms where the arts enhance all subjects. George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts' Executive Director Jacques Rodrigue and LAA+ Director Bethany France traveled to northern Louisiana last week to visit three of our schools to talk with students and witness how the arts are transforming the way they learn.

South Highlands Elementary Magnet in Shreveport, LA

Rodrigue and France visited South Highlands Elementary Magnet in Shreveport, Grace Episcopal School in Monroe, and Homer Elementary School in Homer. At each school, they were greeted by enthusiastic educators and students - all eager to describe how their classrooms use dance, painting, theatre, and other art forms to teach all subjects.   While in Shreveport, Rodrigue was a guest on Talk of the Town with Tom Pace to discuss arts integration and the impact of the LAA+ program across the state.  Click here to listen to the interview.

Homer Elementary School in Homer, LA

Grace Episcopal School in Monroe, LA

"What a great experience to see arts integration in action at these schools and how engaged the students are. From the classrooms to the hallways, these schools are bursting with creative energy," says Jacques Rodrigue. He continues, "Having visited some of the best A+ schools in the country, I am so pleased with how our schools are meeting the challenges of whole-school transformation. It's inspiring to talk with the students and hear how excited they are to learn and come to class."

The nine schools in the Louisiana A+ Schools program are in various locations across the state. Learn more about them by clicking the map below.