World-renowned Cajun artist George Rodrigue visited with North Park Elementary students Tuesday to share his love of art and the story of how he became an artist.
The school’s 875 pupils have been studying Rodrigue since the beginning of the school year. They’ve focused on his Blue Dog series because it’s fun, friendly, and students Pre-K thru sixth grade can relate to it, said North Park Principal Pete Bland.
“The Blue Dog really started when I was your age,” Rodrigue told a group of Pre-K-through-second grade students.
“I loved to draw birds, animals, alligators, fire trucks and when I got older I realized I could still do those things and be an adult but draw like a child.”
Rodrigue and wife Wendy were greeted Tuesday by 37 sidewalk art-type pieces displayed in front if the school. The school-wide art project combined Rodrigue’s Blue Dog with the art style of another “master” to make an original piece, said PTA Art Chair Susan Blake. Each classroom created a piece to be displayed.
“Mr. Rodrigue has such an amazing talent,” said Dr. Joan Lucid, Saugus Union School District Superintendent.
“To see the work that he’s done, it inspires youngsters.”
Despite budget cuts, the art program at North Park Elementary School is thriving.
“The program is totally sponsored through our PTA,” said Susan Blake, North Park PTA Art Chair. “If we didn’t have the parents supporting our program, we wouldn’t have the program.”
Blake rotates her time among all 34 classrooms at North Park and sees each class about five times throughout the school year.
The entire art program and all of the art supplies are provided by North Park’s PTA, she said.