Many of our clients are surprised to hear that M.S. Rau Antiques operates a charity within the gallery, called the Rau for Art Foundation. If you're unfamiliar, the “RFA” was established in 2012 in celebration of M.S. Rau Antiques' 100th year of business. To honor the occasion, the Rau family decided to invest in the next generation of artists in New Orleans and the surrounding region. They accomplished this with the creation of Rau for Art.
The Rau for Art Foundation hosts an annual scholarship competition for high school artists. Students are invited to submit an artwork based on a theme. This year the theme was “Create to Motivate!”. We asked that students use graphic art as inspiration to create a poster or artwork that spreads a positive message. Our hope is that these artworks inspire the students and their peers to be the best version of themselves or to make a positive impact on their community.
The students were very receptive to the theme and it was interpreted in a variety of wonderful ways! Many entrants opted to include a quote from a historical figure, song, or poem. This year's works were inspired by words from iconic historical figures like Louis Armstrong, John F. Kennedy, and Malala Yousafzai, or even the students' own words!
With the vast number of entries received, the first round of voting is done by the M.S. Rau team; everyone on the staff looks forward to RFA voting day! At this phase, ten finalists are selected to exhibit their artworks in M.S. Rau's galleries. Then we invite a panel of prominent local guest judges to weigh in on the final decision. The stakes are high: the top three winners receive a total $12,500 in awards!
Every year we look forward to welcoming the finalists to the gallery for our Scholarship Awards Luncheon, and this year's luncheon took place on April 6, 2019.
The morning started off with a gathering near the finalist exhibition, where Rau for Art Director Rebecca Rau welcomed students, parents, art teachers, and guest judges. It was a unique opportunity for our talented high school students to see their artwork alongside the storied treasures of the Rau Antiques galleries!
Next, everyone was treated to a special tour of the main and private art galleries by Scholarship Chair Zoe Johnson, as we made our way upstairs for lunch. We then heard from one of this year's judges, Beatrice Germaine, about the pursuit of creativity and the importance of art in society. As the Cultural Project Manager for the French Consulate of Louisiana, she has seen her share of meaningful art and culture, and, explained that there were no easy decisions to be made while voting this year!
Bill Rau, CEO of M.S. Rau Antiques also offered some inspirational thoughts to our finalists. He encouraged them to continue making art, regardless of their professional ambitions. He also reminded them of their immense talents, stating that he wished he could award them all first place!
Finally, the much-anticipated moment arrived, and Bill announced the winners. The third place prize went to Helen Hoang, a 12th grader at Riverdale High School for her work “What A Wonderful World.” The second place award went to Skylar Fazende, a 12th grader at Fisher High School for her work “Growth.” And the talented winner was Kathy Nguyen, 11th grader at Riverdale High School for her work entitled “And a Little Child Shall Lead Them.” We are so proud of these students!
Although this year's Scholarship competition has wrapped up, we have just begun reading applications to our Teacher Assistance Fund, the other arm of the Foundation. The Fund invites high school educators to apply for funds towards art supplies for their classrooms. These can be utilized to realize specific, exciting projects or simply to provide much-needed basic art materials that their limited budgets cannot cover. Standby; we will be announcing the winners of the 2019 TAF Grants on the Foundation's website in early May!
To see the Scholarship Competition winners' artworks and additional photos, please click here.