This week, Vans kicked off its annual Custom Culture Design Competition, a national contest that offers high school students a platform to flex their creative muscles to produce a work of art with Vans sneakers as their canvas. The winning submission will receive a $50,000 to support their school’s art programs, and students might even see their designs produced for sale.
Since its foundation in 2010, Vans’ Custom Culture has grown rapidly from 325 participating schools to nearly 3,000. The movement hopes to raise awareness of diminishing arts budgets across the country and has coined the hash tag #RightToArt. “An arts education inspires creative expression and helps prepare students for what’s next,” says vice president of global consumer marketing Sarah Crockett. “In the last six years, Vans Custom Culture has inspired hundreds of thousands of U.S. art students to take a stand for arts education, and Vans has donated over $500,000 to support arts education.”
Running now through February 12, high school art teachers can register their students at Vans’ website. Then, each will be provided with four pairs of blank shoes to create designs that represent the brand’s “Off the Wall” lifestyle. The top 50 schools are then posted online for a public vote.