NEW ORLEANS—Fine arts dealer, M.S. Rau has held an annual competition since 2012. It was initially designed as a way to celebrate 100 years of being in the business of fine art, but it grew into a way to help high school students. The Rau for Art competition was born.
Rebecca Rau is a 4th generation owner, an art history enthusiast and also an artist herself. Last year she came up with a way to hold the competition virtually by surprising students on the front lawn of their houses with checks, while being socially distanced. This year the events are back on in person and there are ten student finalists chosen out of 200 submissions from sophomores, juniors and seniors. Judges evaluate works based on skill, interpretation of theme and originality.
“On the one hand we are elevating their works and saying that they have the potential and skillset to be shown in a gallery with the work of art history’s greats. It also allows those greats to be teachers to these students,” says Rebecca Rau.
The theme this year is “Dreamscapes.” This was chosen because the artists were under pandemic quarantine for much of their artistic process and a dreamscape theme was a great way to show what was going on in the mind.
Josh Nguyen is a finalist in the tenth grade this year and says, “my piece is called vivid memories and I wanted to display my dreams in bits and pieces about my culture and also about some of my greatest memories as a kid.”
Israel Johnson is a finalist who is in the 12th grade and says, “being in quarantine, I really started to explore more about art realms I wanted to focus on. I wanted to do a sky background with a starry night in my art.”
Visitors of M.S. Rau can see all of the priceless and forever changing fine art that the store is known for; they can also take a look at the inspired works of the next generation of artists. The art from the competitors will be on display until Saturday.
Three winners are chosen. Three winners win scholarship money. The first place winner wins something extra special; the experience to travel to Italy.
Hailey Dupont Owings was the 2013 winner, when the competition was in it’s second year. She is now an employee at M.S. Rau and says, “It was really inspiring to get an award from a company that collects such amazing pieces of art and to get to work here afterwards is amazing and spectacular.”
The competition ends at 11am Saturday.