The Life & Legacy Foundation with Wendy Rodrigue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that inspires children of all ages and diverse backgrounds with a unique programming centered on the life and art of American artist George Rodrigue (1944-2013).
Using original paintings and personal narrative, Wendy expands her late husband’s vision by showing how one person can overcome obstacles to achieve their dreams, while also making a positive difference in the world. Projects include education initiatives, museum exhibitions, an ongoing public lecture series, and written and online publications.
Now entering its third year, this hands-on programming with Rodrigue’s widow, Wendy, includes personal visits to 86 schools in 8 states, with a special focus on Rodrigue’s home state of Louisiana, plus museum exhibitions and education outreach in partnership with the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, the LSU Museum of Art, and the Sand Springs Museum in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.
An award-winning public speaker, Wendy was honored in 2019 as a New Orleans Business Woman of the Year and a New Orleans Person to Watch for her tireless commitment to her Life & Legacy Foundation. In April 2020, Wendy will visit her 100th school.
Raised in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Wendy Wolfe Rodrigue is the daughter of an artist named Mignon, and grew up surrounded by the magical world of the arts. Never a painter herself, Wendy immersed herself in the study of Art History, and graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Wendy began graduate studies in Art History at Tulane University in 1989, and spent one year studying Austrian Art and Architecture at the American University in Vienna, Austria.
Before I loved George, I loved his art. And before George’s art, I loved Picasso…and Klimt and Pollock and Rodin….Wendy Rodrigue
In 1991, Wendy joined the staff at the Rodrigue Gallery in New Orleans. Within the next six months, she moved to California, where she spent the following six years as manager at the Rodrigue Gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea. In 1993, as George Rodrigue’s art skyrocketed, Wendy spent six months opening Galerie Blue Dog, GmbH in Munich, Germany; and for the next eight years would spend up to three months annually at that location. In 1995 George and Wendy began biannual promotional tours to Tokyo, Japan, in connection with The Blue Dog Gallery, operated by the Sato Family.
Love often comes to us unexpectedly, and this was no exception for George Rodrigue and his muse— a young Wendy Wolfe. In 1997, the couple married, just before Wendy’s 30th birthday, surrounded by friends, family, centuries old oaks—- and thousands of tulips.
The ensuing years were busy ones for the newlyweds. Wendy became not only George’s wife, but his business partner, and played an integral role in all gallery operations. Together the couple co-wrote a collection of books: Blue Dog Man, Blue Dog Love, The Art of George Rodrigue, Blue Dog Christmas, Are You Blue Dog’s Friend?, Why is Blue Dog Blue?, George Rodrigue Prints: A Catalogue Raissoné, and The Other Side of the Painting, Wendy’s collection of personal stories of life and love with a great American artist.
In 1997 George and Wendy first entertained an audience with a painting demonstration at the Red River Revel in Shreveport, Louisiana. As George painted, Wendy shared George’s history, while clarifying his style and approach through anecdotes.
This began a tradition, and George and Wendy Rodrigue found themselves in demand across the United States, presenting at events at the National Arts Educators Association Convention, the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University, the Phoenix Art Museum, and numerous book fairs and schools.
During her husband’s career, Wendy Rodrigue passionately curated or co-curated at least twenty-six solo museum exhibitions of George Rodrigue’s artwork, including for the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, and the Amerika Haus Museums in Frankfurt and Munich, Germany. In addition to her curatorial contributions, she was responsible, in all cases, for countless hours of docent training, public lectures, and education outreach.
During the 10-week 2008 New Orleans Museum of Art exhibition, for example, Wendy participated in tours for more than 8,000 area school children, plus lectures for the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, NOMA’s Board of Trustees and members, and more than 1,000 school teachers for the National Arts Educators Association.
To Wendy, none of this was work. She was sharing a life with the person who gave her joy and passion. It was impossible to know the Rodrigues without being touched by their love and commitment to each other.
In December of 2013, Wendy’s world was torn apart.
George Rodrigue’s death left Wendy grieving in a way she never thought possible. George was her whole life’s passion, and over the next few years she would discover that it still could be…
In 2016 Wendy dipped her toe back into George’s world by sharing his art and life with school children. While the kids found inspiration from this small town New Iberia Cajun boy turned artistic legend, Wendy found something surprising— joy! The kids showed her that she had a purpose and a mission to share and grow the artistic legacy of George Rodrigue, and that she could do so with love and passion.
In 2017 Wendy married Douglas Magnus, a longtime friend of her late husband’s, who fully supports and contributes to sharing the Life and Legacy of George Rodrigue.