2021 Visual Art & Songwriting Contest


As we approach the end of 2020, we are encouraging students to reflect and explore their thoughts on this difficult year. We are inviting students to create works of art and music which are inspired by these reflections. For the 2021 Art and Songwriting Contests students are asked to consider the following questions when creating their original art and songs:

How has disaster and disease shaped art and music throughout history?

How has your life changed as a result of COVID-19?

What does social distancing and quarantine mean to you?

What has been the most difficult part of this year for you?

What do you miss most about life before COVID-19?

What is your hope for the future?



For both the art and songwriting competition, we ask students to explore the theme  through an original work of art or song. Students may use the questions above as inspiration in creating their work or can interpret the theme in their own unique way. There is no GPA requirement, and it is not required that the student study art or music to be eligible for a scholarship award. All high school juniors and seniors in the state of Louisiana are eligible to apply.



Contest judges will select 10 finalists to share $19,000 in college scholarships. All high school juniors and seniors in the state of Louisiana are eligible to apply.

Individual visual artwork will be judged on the following three 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 2021 Visual Art Contest Terms and Conditions.


A panel of celebrity judges will select 3 finalists to share $6,000 in college scholarships.  All high school juniors and seniors in the state of Louisiana are eligible to apply.

Song submissions will be 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 note, that in order to complete your application for the 2021 Songwriting Contest, you must create a profile on SoundCloud, upload your music sample, and post the shared link to your application.

STEP 1:  Visit www.soundcloud.com > create an account/ profile > upload your music >  copy shared SoundCloud link to your music

STEP 2:  Enter the GRFA Songwriting contest and complete all required information.  Paste your SongCloud link in the field labeled "SoundCloud link with your music sample"

STEP 3:  Finish application and hit submit


Please click here to view the 2021 Songwriting Contest Terms and Conditions.



2020 has been a year of many challenges, which at times has confined us all to our homes, and limited our contact and interaction with our friends, families, and the outside world. As we try to get back to a “new normal” we need the arts now more than ever.

Throughout history many new themes and movements within art and music have emerged as a response to dark times and suffering. The art and songs being created at this time will serve as a touchstone for the future of how we coped with the many challenges of 2020.  The art and music of this time will also serve as a reminder that although we were all isolated and alone at times, we were all in this together.

As a young boy, when George Rodrigue was bedridden with polio, he used art as a way express himself, and discovered he wanted to create art for the rest of his life. After he became a professional artist he continued to use his art as a way to respond to tragedy and disaster. In his hometown of New Iberia he experienced Hurricanes Isadore and Lili, and the destruction and devastation he witnessed inspired a brand new series of work, now referred to as the “Hurricanes.” This series was a noted departure from his from his representational work into abstraction. To Rodrigue these paintings represented the emotional reaction of the artist onto canvas.

Lili, George Rodrigue (2002)
The first painting in George Rodrigue's Hurricane Series.

Following the September 11th attacks, he created “God Bless America” to channel both his, and America’s shock and sadness. After Hurricane Katrina, he again turned to his canvas to create “We Will Rise Again” which echoed the sense, that despite the disaster that occurred, the people would persevere and recover.

We Will Rise Again, George Rodrigue (2005)

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 $530,000 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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