The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA) announced today the winners of its annual visual art contest and inaugural songwriting competition in partnership with the Trombone Shorty Foundation. A total of $55,000 in college scholarships were awarded to 18 high school students across Louisiana. The 2020 contest theme was “The Art of Sound,” showing the connection between music and visual art through an original work of art or song. The annual awards ceremony – which was set for Saturday, March 21 at the Sheraton in New Orleans – was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are thrilled to award these extremely talented students with college scholarships, especially during a year that has caused financial strain for so many across the world” says Jacques Rodrigue, Executive Director of GRFA. “We look forward to continuing our work with each finalist and showcasing their works further in 2021.”
In addition to awarding scholarships to each finalist, both visual arts and songwriting competitions included additional prize winnings that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and statewide restrictions, have been postponed until 2021. The songwriting competition’s three winners will have the chance to record their songs in a state-of-the-art professional recording studio under the mentorship of Grammy winning producers and engineers, along with the opportunity to perform their song on stage during the 2021 Trombone Shorty Foundation’s annual “Shorty Fest” benefit concert during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The visual arts contest winning entries will travel on public view as an exhibition at museums and cultural venues across Louisiana (date still TBD). Additional information will be available in 2021.
“At a time of so much uncertainty, we do know that the future of our music here in Louisiana will remain strong, just as it always has,” says Bill Taylor, Executive Director of the Trombone Shorty Foundation. “It’s a privilege to nurture the art of original songwriting amongst this next generation.”
Songwriting Contest Winners: A panel of celebrity judges, including Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Jon Batiste, Tank Ball (Tank & Bangas), Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), PJ Morton (Grammy Winning artist, Maroon 5), Anders Osborne, David Shaw (Revivalists) and more selected three finalists to share $10,000 in college scholarships. Judging criteria was based on structure and composition, melody, and lyrics.
1st Place - $5,000
Emma LeCompte (Senior, Vandebilt Catholic High School – Houma, LA)
College attending: Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, LA “Wind in My Sail"
2nd Place - $3,000
Ethan Hunt (Senior, Vermillion Catholic High School – Abbeville, LA)
College attending: University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA “The Cowboy’s Life"
3rd Place - $2,000
Grace Russell (Senior, Mandeville High School – Mandeville, LA)
College attending: Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN “Waiting for You”
Visual Art Contest Winners: Contest judges selected the below 15 finalists to share $45,000 in college scholarships. Individual visual artwork was judged on concept/design, technical skill and creativity.
1st Place Senior - $6,000
Ethan Diliberto (Senior, Christ Episcopal School – Covington, LA)
College attending: Montana State University, Bozeman, MT “The Imagery of the Musician”
2nd Place Senior - $5,500
Brooks Ritter (Senior, Southside High School— Youngsville, LA)
College attending: University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA “Hearing It for the First Time”
3rd Place Senior - $5,000
Mary Usher (Senior, St. Joseph’s Academy – Baton Rouge, LA)
College attending: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA “A Holistic Harmony”
4th Place Senior - $4,500
Malachi Long (Senior, Senior West Ouachita High School – West Monroe, LA)
College attending: University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, LA “Am Chord”
5th Place Senior - $4,000
Sloan Hall (Senior, Caddo Parish Magnet High School – Shreveport, LA)
College attending: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR “Jazz Hands”
6th Place Senior - $3,500
Nathan Ranel (Senior, Denham Springs High School – Denham Springs, LA)
College attending: Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA “Nobody’s Home”
7th Place Senior - $3,000
Alex Lowe (Senior, Caddo Parish Magnet High School – Shreveport, LA)
College attending: Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA “Euphonious”
8th Place Senior - $2,500
Zoe Treitler (Senior, Lakeshore High School – Mandeville, LA)
College attending: Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA “Hot Licks”
9th Place Senior - $2,000
Madeline McHugh (Senior, St. Thomas More High School – Lafayette, LA)
College attending: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA “Pipes”
10th Place Senior - $1,500
Destin Delgado (Senior, Thomas Jefferson High School for Advanced Studies – Gretna, LA)
College attending: University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA “POP!”
1st Place Junior - $1,250
Diana Mayer (Junior, St. Thomas More High School – Lafayette, LA) “Southern Symphony”
2nd Place Junior - $1,000
Gabriel Davis (Junior, Riverdale High School – Jefferson, LA) “Portrait of Henry ‘Booker T.’ Glass”
3rd Place Junior - $750
Morrah Burton-Edwards (Junior, Lusher Charter School – New Orleans, LA) “Connection”
4th Place Junior - $500
Elise Theriot (Junior, St. Thomas More High School – Lafayette, LA) “I Weep for the Bittersweet Symphonies”
5th Place Senior - $250
Maggie Cassuto (Junior, West Ouachita High School – West Monroe, LA) “Green Hair Green Notes”
For more information, visit http://georgerodriguefoundation.org/
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