A celebrity "blue" carpet lined the second floor of West Ave and most of the well-dressed guests wore blue, which made perfect sense at the "Rodrigue: Houston" champagne preview party.
A who's who of Houston fans of artist George Rodrigue filled the former St. Genevieve lounge space to celebrate a retrospective featuring the work of the renowned Cajun and Blue Dog artist. Honorary chair Susan Sarofim and chairs Dr. Roland Maldonado and Edward Sanchez welcomed more than 300 guests to view 75 works of original art by Rodrigue, including the artist's dark Louisiana landscapes, Cajun genre scenes and iconic Blue Dog paintings, spanning a 50-year period.
Rodrigue passed away in 2013 and his son, Jacques Rodrigue, told the crowd about the work of the George Rodrigue Foundation for the Arts that funds art programs in Louisiana and Texas schools. The evening brought in $35,000 to directly benefit the foundation's Arts in Education programs at 50 Houston schools.
As Al Campbell's Westbury High School Jazz Band and Mike Owens' New Orleans Jazz Trio performed, guests nibbled on Louisiana-inspired light bites from Ruth's Chris Catering and marveled at original works from the collections of the Rodrigue family, former president George H.W. Bush and Houston art collector Don Sanders, who owns a large number of Rodrigue's artwork.
Jacques Rodrigue presented Sanders with a special pair of sunglasses with a Blue Dog embossed on each lens to thank him for his support and to tout a new book, Rodrigue: The Sanders Collection, which was unveiled at the party. Each guest was given a lapel pin of a blue dog with a Texas state flag scarf around its neck. Guests also bid on rare, out-of-circulation Rodrigue artwork in the silent auction and sampled a "Blue Dog" inspired cake, donated by Jerald Aguilar of What's the Occasion Creative Cakery.
Seen in the crowd were Susan Fowler, Terry Hamman, Laura Sanders, Education Outreach underwriters Tyson Dunn and Jana and Richard Fant, host committee members Carrie Colbert, Carolyn Farb, Debbie and Rudy Festari, Debra and Mark Grierson, George Lancaster, Patti and Don Murphy and Kristi Schiller.
Other guests included Mallory Page Rodrigue, Scott Miller, Tina and Fikri Ozcelik, Nicole and James Lassite, Jo and Jim Furr, Monte Stavis, John De La Cruz and Patrick Palmer, and Yuni and JJ Paufigues, who loaned Rodrigue's "Take Me Back To Texas" from their collection.
The pop-up gallery featuring Rodrigue's work will be on display in Houston through July 5 in the West Ave location. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sunday from noon - 5 p.m., and Monday by appointment.