Faith Bass, a 2021 St. Mary’s Dominican High School graduate, took second place honors in the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA) annual visual art and songwriting contest. A total of 13 Louisiana high school juniors and seniors shared in $25,000 in college scholarships. Bass is among 10 finalists the visual art contest judges selected to share $19,000 in college scholarships. Individual visual artwork was judged on concept/design, technical skill, and creativity. Her entry, “Pandemics: History Repeats Itself,” included a $4,000 award and was selected from more than 500 entries. This school year, she was a student in teacher Angelle Caffery’s Art III-Advance Placement class.
The 2021 contest theme was “Alone Together: Art in the Time of Pandemic,” which encouraged students to reflect and explore their thoughts on this difficult year and create works of art and music inspired by their reflections.
“This year’s art and songwriting contest winners were truly special,” says Jacques Rodrigue, GRFA’s Executive Director. “It hasn’t been easy for these students, learning virtually from home, and missing the in-person support and friendship that is so vital during high school years. These students overcame many challenges faced and created art that was all-encompassing of the year we’ve all had. My hope is that these artists will continue to inspire and uplift others just as they have done with us through this contest.”
Students were asked to consider the following questions when creating their original art and songs: How has disaster and disease shaped art 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?
Art contest judges included Janet Wolfe (Artist and Art Educator), Jill Hackney (Artist), Dana Holland-Bieckert (Curator – Rodrigue Studio), Misty Taylor (Collections and Exhibitions Manager – Hilliard Art Museum), Kay LaFrance (Old Post Office Museum, Winnsboro), Emily Feazel (Designer, Exhibits & Special Events – R.W. Norton Art Gallery), Kathy Rodriguez (Professor, Department of Fine Arts – University of New Orleans), Priscilla Simpson (Director of Events and Operations – Shaw Center for the Arts), Tammie Haubner (Director – Imperial Calcasieu Museum) and Catherine Pears (Executive Director – Alexandria Museum of Art).
Founded by artist George Rodrigue (1944-2013) in 2009, the GRFA advocates the importance of the arts in the development of our youth, encourages the use of art within all curriculums and supports a variety of art education programs. Its primary initiatives include its print donation program, on-going work with Louisiana A+ Schools, George’s Art Closet, and the Annual Scholarship Visual Art and Songwriting Contest that has received 5,881 submissions and awarded $530,000 in total scholarships to almost 200 students.