Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Life and Legacy

George Rodrigue’s life, art, and philanthropy touch lives every day. In a reality that, from my perspective, is both exhilarating and unsettling, I see him moving into near-mythic status, grouped in art lessons with Van Gogh, Picasso, and Matisse.  I’ve always known that he belongs with these artists ---Modernist giants whose output enriches our world, pulling us away from our phones and computers, luring us to museums and art books, and tempting us to explore our own creative paths.  The arts inspire us, if we let them, to make ourselves vulnerable, to reveal the personal, and as Picasso famously said and George often quoted, “to paint like a child.”

This month I resume the George Rodrigue Life and Legacy Tour with twelve extended stops, primarily focused on schools in Louisiana.  It all began last fall as a way of sharing George’s life and art (and image!) with students at arts integrated schools throughout the state.  Louisiana A+ Schools, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is a whole-school teaching method in which every subject is taught through the visual or performing arts.  

I’m always grateful for opportunities to share George with others, and I couldn’t resist expanding the tour when possible to include schools outside of the LAA+ network.  It’s a wonderful experience ---as exciting for me as for the students--- many of them exposed for the first time ever to original Rodrigue paintings, which I carry with me in George’s truck ---the same truck he and I traveled in for years, visiting schools across the country.

Pictured:  Crossing Texas, 2010; St. Francisville, Louisiana, 2017



Because my last tour-post focused exclusively on LAA+ Schools, I missed sharing with you some of the other stand-out stops along the way.  Here’s a collection of previously unpublished photographs from the George Rodrigue Life and Legacy Tour, to be continued this spring, as noted on the schedule at the bottom of this post.  ENJOY! -Wendy

-click photos to enlarge-

A grand welcome at River Oaks School in Monroe, LA.  Related story: "Blue Dog Painter's Story Inspires River Oaks Students" from the Monroe News-Star. Also notice their beautiful hand-painted ceiling tiles.



A bit intimidating, but whoa, so fun at Ridge Elementary School in Duson, LA (a LAA+ School), sharing Rodrigue paintings while enjoying Pajama Day! ...if only I had known...



Caddo Career & Technology Center in Shreveport, LA, with Justin Kimes, the 2017 Grand Prize Winner of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts Scholarship Art Contest.  Enjoy a closer look at his winning artwork celebrating the New Orleans Tricentennial, and learn more here



Enthusiasm abounds at J. Wallace James Elementary School in Lafayette, LA (a LAA+ School), where students study original George Rodrigue paintings.  Related story:  "Rodrigue Stops by Lafayette Schools, Celebrates Student Art" from the Daily Advertiser.



No shortage of eager volunteers at Rollins Place Elementary School in Zachary, LA (a LAA+ School). Related story:  "Legacy Tour Chance to Extend Life of Rodrigue, Blue Dog" from The Advocate, Baton Rouge.



I felt particularly honored to visit my father's alma mater, Martin Behrman Academy of Creative Arts and Sciences in New Orleans, LA (a LAA+ School).  Also pictured, Principal Brian Young with George Rodrigue's historic post-Katrina print, We Are Marching Again!



There's a special place in my heart for Homer A. Plessy Community School (a LAA+ School), located in the New Orleans French Quarter.  On this visit, third grader Colin Dulaney moves me to tears with his concept for a George Rodrigue Monument as part of the book, Courageous, Eccentric, Diverse:  New Monuments for New Orleans.



Morris Jeff Community School in New Orleans has a 'super-cool' art teacher, Dennis Ward (standing).  Also pictured:  our very own Shemsi Frezel of Rodrigue Studio helps unveil George's self-portrait, now installed permanently in the school.



I received treasured gifts of outstanding original drawings from students at Lake Charles Charter Academy in Lake Charles, LA (a LAA+ School).



At Bains Lower Elementary in St. Francisville, LA (a LAA+ School), I was thoroughly entertained with an impromptu dance, and enjoyed a fantastic turn-out of community support!



The Dufrocq School (a LAA+ School) in Baton Rouge, LA. shows real passion for all of the arts, but especially for the art of George Rodrigue ...and for the man himself.  Look for a surprise announcement, as they honor George in a most unique and lasting way. Stay tuned!



There could not have been a better conclusion to this segment of the George Rodrigue Life and Legacy Tour than at Holy Angels in Shreveport, LA. with real-life Angel Artists Elaine and Bobby!



***
UPCOMING SCHEDULE

I hope to see some of you at these events. In the case of schools, please contact those locations directly for details. Otherwise, the events in BOLD are open to the public.

3/15 St. Helena Learning Center; St. Helena Arts and Technology Academy (both LAA+ Schools), Greensburg, LA

3/20 St. Peter School, Covington, LA

3/21 Ascension Episcopal School, Youngsville/Lafayette

3/22 Most Blessed Sacrament School, Baton Rouge

3/23 Singing River Academy (Gautier, MS) at Rodrigue Studio, New Orleans

3/24 George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts Scholarship Art Contest Awards Luncheon, New Orleans.  Details and tickets here.

3/24 New exhibition opens at Rodrigue Studio, New Orleans, 6-8 p.m. FREE (plus free exhibition poster while supplies last!) Rodrigue’s Swirling Vision: The Sun, Cosmos, and Hurricanes. Learn more.

3/26 Epiphany Day School (a LAA+ School), New Iberia

3/27 LSU Continuing Education, OLLI Felicianas Chapter, First Baptist Church, St. Francisville. 10a.m. – 12p.m. FREE.  Learn more.

Additional dates TBA:

The Dufrocq School (a LAA+ School), Baton Rouge
LSU Women’s Center, Baton Rouge

*most photographs by Douglas Magnus





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