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Monday, December 22, 2014

A Look Back at 2014

2014 was a great year for the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, marked by many successes for our arts in education programs, as well as an exciting new partnership with the White House.

This year GRFA:

Awarded $50,000 in college scholarships

Over 700 high school juniors and seniors from across Louisiana entered our 2014 Art Contest, with 21 finalists sharing $50,000 in college scholarships. In partnership with Audubon Nature Institute, the theme for the contest was "Louisiana's Natural Beauty." The winning artwork went on tour to museums in Alexandria, Lake Charles, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans, LA.

Became Program Director for Turnaround Arts: Louisiana

This year we were honored to be chosen by the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) to be program director of Turnaround Arts: Louisiana, an education initiative designed to turn around low-performing schools through arts-integration. Schools in the Turnaround Arts program see a boost in academic achievement, motivated student learning, and improved school culture.

Added 3 new schools to our Louisiana A+ Schools network

Three new schools were added to our Louisiana A+ Schools program - making for a total of nine member schools.  LAA+ is a research-based whole school program with a mission of nurturing creativity in every learner through arts-integration curriculum. Essential to the success of this program is the LAA+ Summer Institute, where we provide a weeklong training in arts-integration. This year we hosted over 500 educators at the Summer Institute!

Brought Arts Education Outreach to California

In October, GRFA brought arts education outreach and fieldtrips to students and families in the Carmel community. We visited Mary Chapa Literacy and Technology Academy (a Turnaround Arts: California school) for a morning of creativity and painting. Families also joined us at the Rodrigue Studio Carmel for a special community art-making day.

Donated 15 pianos to LSU School of Music

In September, the Estate of George Rodrigue unveiled a posthumous silkscreen print called "Take Five" in an edition of 950. Proceeds from the sales were used to purchase 15 new upright Steinway pianos for the students of the LSU School of Music.

Won Best Illustrated Cookbook in America

The Pot & The Palette Cookbook, featuring original artwork by Louisiana high school students from our 2013 Art Contest, was named Best Illustrated Cookbook in America by Gourmand Magazine. Because of its popularity, it has already entered a third printing. This publication was produced in partnership with the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation and features 100 recipes from Louisiana's best chefs.

We are looking forward to great things in 2015! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Where Is She Now? Catching Up With the 2014 Art Contest Winner

Catching Up With Audrey Marsh, Winner of the 2014 Art Contest

This is a guest post written by Audrey Marsh, 1st Place scholarship winner in our 2014 Art Contest. Audrey is currently a student at Tulane University in New Orleans.

For as long as I can remember, art has been a central part of my life. When I was a kid, I could usually be found chalking pictures onto the patio or covering various pieces of furniture with craft paint. Drawing and painting were my first two loves, allowing me to recreate the world around me in my own way. I took a watercolor class when I was young, but for the most part I enjoyed teaching myself how to use different media, be it watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, etc. When I was in middle school I began doing commissioned work (generally portraits) and I continued into high school where I was also able to do other types of work including nature and city-life.

Sample of commissioned artwork prior to the GRFA Art Contest

In my senior year of high school, my art teacher encouraged me to enter the GRFA contest of which the theme was "Louisiana's Natural Beauty." I was very surprised when my design won and I received the scholarship. The fact that my work had been recognized out of all the entries greatly boosted my confidence as an artist, especially since there are so many talented young artists in Louisiana. Winning the GRFA contest helped me with college tuition but even more importantly helped me get my name out in the community. As I hope to stick around in Louisiana for a while, I believe this contest was the stepping stone that will allow me to become the artist I always knew I would be.

My original design "Piecing Together Louisiana" was created into a poster now sold at Audubon Nature Institute.

At Tulane University, I am working toward becoming a biomedical engineer. My hope is that in the future I will be able to design prosthetics for individuals with disabilities. While engineering may seem a surprising choice for someone interested in the arts, I believe that having an artistic side is very beneficial to succeeding in math and science. It's all about solving problems, which is not too different from drawing, painting, or creating. I have always believed that I could use my art in a direct way to help people, and biomedical engineering seemed to open a lot of doors for me as there are many design elements in which my creative side will come in handy. Despite all of the math and science classes in my schedule, I still have time to take art classes now and again. This semester I took an acrylic painting class, and outside of class I have been able to find several other creative outlets as there is no shortage of artistic opportunities in New Orleans. Since art is something I love, I always make time for it no matter how busy I am otherwise. In the words of Moffat Machingura: "Follow your dreams. I am not saying it's going to be easy, but I am saying it's going to be worth it."

A sample of my work at Tulane University

Entries are now being accepted for our 2015 Art Contest in partnership with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. Click the photo below to learn more.

Rodrigue Studio Donates 15 Pianos to the LSU School of Music

On Monday, December 1st, Christmas came early for students at the LSU School of Music. That day Hall Piano Co. delivered 15 new upright Steinway pianos for students to use in classrooms. This donation marks the culmination of three-year partnership between the Rodrigue Family and the LSU School of Music.

In September, the Estate of George Rdorigue unveiled a posthumous print called "Take Five" in an edition of 950, with proceeds from the sales used to purchase the pianos. Click the photo below to see footage from this exciting event!