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Vans Kicks Off Design Competition for High School Students

Vans, in partnership with Americans for the Arts, Journeys and skateboard company, Truth, launched its sixth annual Custom Culture Art competition, inviting high school art students to use blank Vans shoes as a canvas for their artistic and creative skills. Vans will donate $50,000 to the winning school’s arts program. A winning design may also make it into production.

U.S.-based high school art teachers have until Feb. 13, 2015 to register their art classes for the competition. The first 3,000 schools to register by the deadline will be given four models of Vans footwear to customize around the four themes of the Vans’ “Off the Wall” lifestyle: arts, music, sports, and local flavor.

Vans employees will then narrow down the schools to 50 semifinalists, which will also have a chance to compete for $10,000 from Truth, by creating a unique design on a skateboard deck for the brand’s “Finish IT” campaign.

The public will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite designs from April 24 to May 11 on the Vans Custom Culture website. The top five finalists will travel to New York City to showcase their designs to a panel of celebrity judges, with the overall winner earning $50,000 for their school’s arts program. In addition, Vans will donate $4,000 each to the four runner-up schools, plus an extra $50,000 to Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading organization for advancing the arts and art education.

This year will also mark the first time one student from each of the top five schools will have a chance to receive a scholarship award from the Laguna College of Art and Design. The school has committed to offering each recipient a total of $6,250 per year for four years.

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The Vans Custom Culture competition aims to inspire high school students to embrace creativity through art and design and to raise awareness for the country’s suffering arts programs. The competition has grown since its inception in 2010 with just 326 schools participating in the first year, now the program is expected to have 3,000 schools participate in 2015.

Sarah Crockett, Vans vice president of global consumer marketing said, “Vans believes in expressing creativity and building a life around pursuing your dreams; we are actively striving to make sure students receive the opportunity to show the world who they are through the arts.” She added, “Vans Custom Culture was designed to give students a platform to embrace the arts as an outlet for creative expression while giving back to communities through a meaningful donation going towards sustaining and growing art programs in order to inspire today’s youth to create.”