2024 Art & Songwriting Contest





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 images and contest description as inspiration in creating their work, or can interpret the theme in their own unique way. All high school juniors and seniors in the state of Louisiana are eligible to apply. There is no GPA requirement, and it is not required that the student study art or music to be eligible for a scholarship award. Please note, the use of AI or artificial intelligence is not permitted, the use of any AI filters, prompts or generators will lead to immediate disqualification.


Contest judges will select 10 finalists (5 Juniors & 5 Seniors) to share $19,000 in college scholarships. Following the Scholarship Awards Luncheon (March 23rd 2024 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 artworks are 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 2024 Visual Art Contest Terms & Conditions.



A panel of celebrity judges will select 3 finalists to share $6,000 in college scholarships. Following the Scholarship Awards Luncheon (March 23rd 2024 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel), the 1st 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 are 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 2024 Songwriting Contest Terms & Conditions


Congratulations to our 2024 Songwriting Contest Winners!

1st Place

Noa Nasoff
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans
“Hattie McCray”



2nd Place

Caroline Tebbs
Pope John Paul II High School, Slidell
“Not Quite Good Enough”



3rd Place

Vada Powell
Sterlington High School, Monroe



2024 Art & Songwriting Contest Theme - Hidden Stories: Unveiling Louisiana's Untold Narratives Through Art & Song

This year we are asking high school student artists and songwriters to uncover and explore lesser-known stories, figures, or aspects of Louisiana's history and culture. They can delve into the hidden narratives, unsung heroes, or marginalized communities that have shaped the state's identity.

We encourage students to research and depict stories related to civil rights movements, indigenous communities, LGBTQ+ history, women's contributions, or lesser-known cultural traditions within Louisiana. They can use their artwork to shed light on these narratives, challenge stereotypes, or highlight the importance of inclusivity and representation.

He-bert, Yes – A Bear, No
From the series “The Saga of the Acadians” painted between 1985 & 1989. In 1912, Louisiana Governor Hall issued a special edict that French could no longer be spoken in school.

Shirley Ann Grau
Shirley Ann Grau was a Pulitzer Prize winning author whose novels were set primarily in the Deep South and explored issues of race and gender.

George Rodrigue's art often focused on Louisiana culture, particularly the Cajun and Creole heritage. While he is most known for the Blue Dog, he also depicted rare scenes from Louisiana life and history. He used symbolism, color, and composition to visually convey these narratives, which evoke emotion and connection to the stories, while creating awareness of lesser known communities and traditions.

By embracing this theme, student artists and songwriters have the opportunity to engage with social issues, explore the diverse fabric of Louisiana's history, and use their artistic voices to amplify voices that are often overlooked. We encourage students to think critically, foster empathy, and express their perspectives on important but lesser-known aspects of Louisiana's culture and heritage.

Practice on a Sunday Afternoon
Pictured are Cleoma Breaux and Joe Falcon, considered to be the first Cajun music recording stars.

Tiffany Remembers the 70s
The Blue Dog is often perceived as male, when in fact, the inspiration for the original image of the Blue Dog was George Rodrigue's family dog, who was a black & white terrier-spaniel named Tiffany.

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 $600,000 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.

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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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