2023 Art & Songwriting Contest Theme: Off the Beaten Path: Weird, Wild, and Abstract
This year we are encouraging students to think outside the box to create works of art and songs that push creative boundaries. We are asking 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 ask that the students use their creativity and imaginations and venture “off the beaten path” of traditional art making. We ask 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
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
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.