You would be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t familiar with the iconic image of George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog. This famous dog has been featured with popular musicians, politicians and even Drew Brees, and I’m pretty sure I saw the cast of Friends flipping through Rodrigue’s book on one of the episodes. Here’s something you may not know… in 2009 George Rodrigue formed the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA). Rodrigue’s wish is to expose children to education in the visual arts, hoping to inspire in others an early and on-going creative passion similar to his own.
One of the ways in which Rodrigue and GRFA promote the arts in schools is through an annual Art Contest. This year the GRFA partners with the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF). The contest is open to all high school juniors, and seniors who are enrolled in college for Fall, 2013. Each year a different theme is chosen for the contest, and this year’s theme is Louisiana Culinary Heritage. The Foundation will provide $45,000 in college scholarships and awards to students whose artwork best represents Louisiana’s unique culinary heritage. In addition, the winning artwork will be published as illustrations in a new Louisiana Culinary Heritage Cookbook containing recipes by well known Louisiana chefs. The cookbook should be out by late 2013 just in time for your holiday shopping!
The GRFA is run by George’s son, Jacques Rodrigue. Jacques explains, “Students are asked to create something that reflects the culinary arts in Louisiana. The contest promotes arts in schools and helps to build self confidence in students. We wanted students to start a dialogue through art, and to pick projects that would encourage all kids, not just the number one students, to enter. You never know where that artistic spark might start. The first year’s winner was from Hackberry, Louisiana, and he didn’t even have plans to go to college,” Jacques says. “Now he’s at McNeese, and he sends us his report cards (all A’s and maybe one B so far). He also comes to each award ceremony to cheer the kids on, and tell his story.”
Contest entries can be oil, charcoal, pencil or graphite, watercolor, photography, mixed media or digital media. Entries must be between 11 x 14 and 18 x 24 inches, and can be submitted as a photo to the GRFA website. Deadline for entry is Feb. 20, 2013, and the top entries will be announced at an American Idol style awards ceremony on March 23 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. The students have no idea who’s going home with the top prize, but all the contestants receive scholarship funds for their college expenses. Another cool aspect of the contest is that the school that submits the most entries receives “George’s Art Closet” – $2,000 in art supplies. So everybody wins! Please click here for application. Deadline February 20, 2013.