All one has to do is walk through the French Quarter to become acquainted with the Blue Dog, the iconic (and adorable) subject created by Cajun artist George Rodrigue. Be it that you walk past the Rodrigue Studio on Royal Street, or see the Blue Dog in any number of other paintings, posters and other items in restaurants and stores. If you've heard mention of the Blue Dog you know it's him the second you lay eyes on him.
But what the average tourist may not know is just how much Rodrigue is an advocate for the importance of visual arts in the development of youth. Created in 2009, the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, or GRFA, among many other things provides financial assistance in the arts and helps develop and carry out a series of educational programs in art that are designed to enhance and expand art curriculums. Rodrigue's primary goal 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 ways in which Rodrigue and GRFA do this is with their Art Contest & Scholarships program. Open to high school juniors and seniors, each year there's a different theme chosen for the contest - this year it's Louisiana Culinary Heritage. The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts will provide $45,000 in college scholarships and awards to students whose artwork best represents Louisiana's unique culinary heritage. In addition, winning entries of the GRFA 2013 Scholarship Art Contest will be used in a new Louisiana Culinary Heritage Cookbook to be published by GRFA and the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation. Seniors must be enrolled in college for the fall 2013 semester in order to receive a scholarship, and juniors will receive a cash scholarship towards future college expenses.
"Louisiana is an international culinary melting pot. For centuries our food reflects a cultural history of adventurous cuisine. Statewide we boast excellent restaurants, festivals and food-focused events. Uniquely, Louisiana yields seafood, wild game and produce, providing home cooks and chefs with a wide variety of fresh local ingredients. These indigenous resources complement Louisiana's cultural 'gumbo' of French, Spanish, African, Italian and German flavors, influencing the food we 'live to eat.' Our beloved Creole and Cajun culinary traditions encourage a vibrant restaurant industry, impacting our state's economy with jobs and tourism," explained a GRFA press release.
"GRFA's 2013 Scholarship Art Contest commemorates these qualities. We invite Louisiana's high school juniors and seniors to create a work of art representing our state's unique culinary heritage while honoring its festivals, dishes and local ingredients. This year's entries should showcase the best of Louisiana's most popular asset, its cuisine, tempting GRFA's guest judges with each artwork's originality, theme and design."
Deadline is Wednesday, February 20 - an online application and a photo of art submissions must be received no later than 5:00 P.M. that day.
Click here for guidelines, suggestions for students, and registration information.