2023 Art & Songwriting Contest




Congratulations to our 2023 Songwriting Contest Winners!

1st Place
Noa Nasoff
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans
“Depression Obsession”



2nd Place
Sage Bell

Neville High School, Monroe
“Siri Stole My Childhood”



3rd Place
Shania Phillips
Cabrini High School, New Orleans
“Villain Era”





For both the art and songwriting competition, we asked students to explore the theme through an original work of art or song. 


Contest judges selected 10 finalists (5 Juniors & 5 Seniors) to share $19,000 in college scholarships. Following the Scholarship Awards Luncheon (March 25th at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel), the winning entries will travel on public view for one year as an exhibition at museums and cultural venues across Louisiana.

Individual visual artwork were  judged on the following criteria:

  • Concept/Design: Does the artwork address the theme in a clear and inventive way?  (1/3 score)
  • Technical Skill: Does the artwork show an understanding of visual art principles such as use of color, shading, light, and form?  (1/3 score)
  • Creativity: Does the artwork showcase an original point of view? Does it provide a fresh perspective on the theme?  (1/3 score)

Please click here to view the 2023 Visual Art Contest Terms and Conditions.



A panel of celebrity judges will selected 3 finalists to share $6,000 in college scholarships. Following the Scholarship Awards Luncheon (March 25th at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel), the first place winner will have the opportunity to perform their song on stage during the Trombone Shorty Foundation’s annual “Shorty Fest” benefit concert.

Song submissions were judged on the following criteria:

  • Structure and Composition: Does the song have clearly identifiable sections (verse, chorus, etc)? Is the song between 2-5 minutes? Does the song have a clear theme and cohesive structure? Does the music have an identifiable rhyme scheme or pattern? (1/3 score)
  • Melody: Does the song have continuity and coherence in melody, as well as tone and style? Does the song offer something unique, different, and totally original? Does the music keep the listener interested and engaged?  (1/3 score)
  • Lyrics: Are the lyrics creative and original? Do they inspire an emotional or visceral reaction from the listener? Do the music and lyrics fit together in a cohesive way?  (1/3 score)

Please click here to view the 2023 Songwriting Contest Terms and Conditions.

2023 Art & Songwriting Contest Theme: Off the Beaten Path: Weird, Wild, and Abstract

This year we encouraged students to think outside the box to create works of art and songs that push creative boundaries. We asked students to dismiss classic themes and notions to create something unique and thought provoking. There are no limits on what the subject matter can be, we only asked that the students use their creativity and imaginations and venture “off the beaten path” of traditional art making. We asked students to use the following works of art and concepts as inspiration to create their own works of weird, wild and abstract art and music.

Watch Dog, 1984

Sea Chests of Secrets, 1984

Lili, 2002

Artist George Rodrigue is best known for his Cajun landscapes and the famous Blue Dog, but he also dabbled in the surreal and abstract. His Hurricane Series from the early 2000’s uses swirling shapes and colors to convey emotion, rather than using traditional figures or styles. “The Bayou Collection” (1984) is a collection of 40 paintings which all illustrate Cajun ghost stories using strange and surreal imagery. One of the most noteworthy paintings within this collection is Watch Dog, also known as the first Blue Dog ever created by Rodrigue. The wild and surreal notion that dogs could be blue started a whole new trend in Rodrigue’s work, and gave birth to the famous Blue Dog imagery we all know today. Rodrigue continued to use the Blue Dog symbol throughout his work, often placing it within environments where it would not normally exist. In his painting The Millennium (1999), he uses the Blue Dog along with butterflies, an Egyptian figure, and a Viking ship to celebrate creativity and art, and commemorate the dawn of the new millennium.

The Millennium, 1999

Voodoo Nights, 2007

Magitte, 2003


About the Art Contest

The Annual Scholarship Art Contest is a unique way for us to honor the legacy of George Rodrigue while celebrating the talent and creativity of Louisiana high school students. Since the first Art Contest in 2010, GRFA has awarded over $580,000 in college scholarships through this program, providing much-needed financial support for young people pursuing higher education.

This visual arts competition encourages individual participation in the arts and is open to all Louisiana high school juniors and seniors, regardless of grade point average or intended college major. Students from public, private, charter, and home schools are invited to enter. In 2020, the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, in partnership with the Trombone Shorty Foundation, expanded its Annual Scholarship Art Contest to include a Scholarship Songwriting Contest, providing a platform for both visual artists and songwriters across Louisiana to showcase their work.

Take Five, George Rodrigue (2014)

About the Trombone Shorty Foundation

 The Trombone Shorty Foundation’s mission is to inspire the next generation of musically talented opportunity youth through music education, instruction, mentorship, and performance. By honoring the New Orleans tradition of “playing it forward” from the earliest jazz legends onward, the foundation seeks to preserve and perpetuate the musical heritage of a city where music is everything. Experienced and professional teachers, tutors, and mentors support every student in the pursuit of a well-rounded understanding of New Orleans’ musical traditions, experience in music performance, reading, writing, and now, even business, and the social and academic skills they need to make noise wherever they go – in music and in life.



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