George Rodrigue (1944-2013) was an American Surrealism artist raised in Louisiana. Inspired as a young man by Louisiana culture and what he feared was his dying heritage – including the southwest Louisiana landscape, the Cajun people, their traditions and mythology, Rodrigue portrayed the rich culture around him on canvas. One such story from his childhood, the loup-garou, spawned his most famous series, The Blue Dog, a nationally recognized work of art.
After his cancer diagnosis in 2012 and subsequent death in 2013, Rodrigue’s wife, Wendy, dedicated her life to preserving of his legacy. Wendy’s goal was to educate a new generation of people about Rodrigue’s work, Louisiana history and rich Cajun culture. In 2017, through the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, established in 2009, Wendy launched the Life and Legacy Tour in partnership with Louisiana A+ Schools.
Traveling with rarely or never before seen pieces from her private collection, Wendy led presentations to schools throughout the region including a display of original works and stories of her husband’s life and career in the arts. Underlining the importance of arts education in Louisiana schools, the Life and Legacy Tour has reached tens of thousands of students and continues to grow.
Wendy Rodrigue turned to Gambel Communications to promote the Life and Legacy tour through the firm’s expertise and relationships with regional media. Leading up to the tour, Gambel Communications handled media relations and earned extensive press coverage in print, online media, television and radio. Gambel also worked hand-in-hand with the Rodrigue team to extend beyond schools to local museums and organizations including the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, the Mattie Kelly Foundation in Florida, the Glade Arts Foundation and Baylor University in Texas. In addition to speaking opportunities and TV interviews, Gambel Communications secured a feature in the international Art + Design magazine along with a multiple-page spread with several works from Rodrigue and a full-length interview with Wendy, as well as in-depth interviews with the NPR affiliate in Lafayette (KRVS) and Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
As a result of Gambel Communications efforts, the Life and Legacy tour has been a success. Wendy has spoken at more than 15 schools, and a myriad of museums, including the Louisiana Children’s Museum and LSU Art Museum at the Shaw Center. The tour has gained media attention in Louisiana and surrounding states including Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Florida. In addition, the limited release exhibition at the Ohr O’Keefe Museum was extended for an additional three months due to its popularity, attracting more than double the museums’ average visitation. The works of George Rodrigue are now circulating through a younger generation, inspiring children and young artists to preserve the culture of Louisiana.