The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA) announced Monday details for its inaugural Scholarship Songwriting Competition in partnership with the Trombone Shorty Foundation. An addition to the organization's Annual Scholarship Art Contest, the Songwriting Competition will provide a platform for high school songwriters across Louisiana to showcase their work. Three young songwriters will be awarded $10,000 in college scholarships, a chance to record their winning songs in a state-of-the-art professional recording studio under the mentorship of Grammy winning producers and engineers, and the opportunity to perform their song on stage during the Trombone Shorty Foundation's annual "Shorty Fest" benefit concert during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
To celebrate the addition of songwriting to GRFA's annual scholarship art contest, the 2020 contest theme is "The Art of Sound," showing the connection between music and visual art through an original work of art or song. Songwriters and Artists can now submit their original artwork or song/lyrics HERE. The award ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 21 at the Sheraton in New Orleans.
"We are proud to now offer Louisiana high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to not only showcase their skills in art, but also music through our new songwriting competition," says Jacques Rodrigue, Executive Director of the Rodrigue Foundation. "Music is a Louisiana staple; we have something very special here that we want to continue to grow, starting with our youth. It's important to us to encourage students to learn more about music and songwriting and give them a platform to showcase their talents."
Confirmed judges for the inaugural Scholarship Songwriting Competition include Troy "trombone Shorty" Andrews, Jon Batiste, Tank Ball (Tank & Bangas), Lauren Daigle, Ben Ellman (Galactic), Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), Erica Falls (Galactic), Samantha Fish, AJ Haynes (seratones), Jim McCormick (staff writer, BMG Music), PJ Morton (Grammy Winning artist, Maroon 5), Anders Osborne, David Shaw (Revivalists), Aaron Wilkinson (Honey Island Swamp Band), Big Chief Juan Pardo, Reid Wick (The Recording Academy), and George Wilde (Trombone Shorty Foundation). Click HERE to see a full list of judges and bios. Art contest judges will be announced at a later date.
"We are so thrilled to partner with the Rodrigue Foundation on this competition," says Trombone Shorty Foundation Founding Executive Director Bill Taylor. "Our team has never done anything like this before, and we can't wait to see what the students come up with. Hoping it will be a fun way to get their creative vibes flowing."
For both the art and songwriting competitions, GRFA asks students to explore the connection between music and visual art through an original work of art or song. Students may use the following questions below as inspiration in creating their work or can interpret the theme in their own unique way.
● What does sound look like?
● What do you feel and see when you listen to music?
● What role does music play in our life and culture?
● What do music and visual art have in common?
● How has the connection between music and art evolved over time?
All high school juniors and seniors in the state of Louisiana are eligible to apply. A selection of three finalists will share $10,000 in college scholarships. Following the Scholarship Awards Luncheon on March 21, 2020, the three finalists will have a chance to record their winning songs in a state-of-the-art professional recording studio under the mentorship of Grammy winning producers and engineers, and then perform their song on stage during the Trombone Shorty Foundation's annual "Shorty Fest" benefit concert during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Song submissions will be judged on the following criteria:
1. 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)
2. 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)
3. 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)
VISUAL ARTS COMPETITION:
All high school juniors and seniors in the state of Louisiana are eligible to apply. Contest judges will select 15 finalists to share $45,000 in college scholarships. Following the Scholarship Awards Luncheon on March 21, 2020, the 15 winning entries will travel on public view for one year as an exhibition at museums and cultural venues across Louisiana.
On average, they receive more than 600 entries annually. Individual visual artwork will be judged on the following three criteria:
1. Concept/Design: Does the artwork address the theme in a clear and inventive way? (1/3 score)
2. Technical Skill: Does the artwork show an understanding of visual art principles such as use of color, shading, light, and form? (1/3 score)
3. Creativity: Does the artwork showcase an original point of view? Does it provide a fresh perspective on the theme? (1/3 score)
For visual artist George Rodrigue, music served as inspiration, a soundtrack and an outlet for his creativity. He was a lifelong fan of music; he used some of his favorite musicians as the subjects for, and inspirations behind several of his paintings, playfully used song lyrics as the titles of his works, and often listened to music as he painted. In 2007, when Rodrigue painted the "Rodrigue Steinway," a 100-year-old Steinway piano, Rodrigue asked himself the question: "What does music look like?" The result was a series of swirling sound waves, combined with the iconic Blue Dog, creating a unique fusion of art and music.
Throughout history, music and visual art have shared many connections and similarities: Both require creative expression, the use of a chosen instrument or tool and the use of structure and composition. Through both mediums, the artist or songwriter expresses emotions, ideas and tells stories in a way which can be interpreted by the viewer or listener. From cave drawings of musical instruments, to renaissance portraits of musicians, to contemporary album covers and music videos, these two artistic genres have been intertwined since their inception. For more information or to submit your original song or artwork, please visit http://georgerodriguefoundation.org/.
About the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA)
Founded by artist George Rodrigue (1944-2013) in 2009, 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. www.rodriguefoundation.org.
About the Annual Art Contest
Each year the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts hosts a Scholarship Art Contest open to all Louisiana high school juniors and seniors. Founded by artist George Rodrigue in 2009, this annual statewide Art Contest has since received over 6,900 entries from across Louisiana and awarded over $500,000 in scholarships to 182 students. As of 2020, the Annual Scholarship Art Contest will now also be open to songwriters.
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. www.tromboneshortyfoundation.org