| Craft |

Vans Invades High School with a Killer Design Contest Worth $50k for Art Programs

When school kids come back to the dreaded schoolhouse in a few days for the spring semester, they have something less lame and like, dumb and stuff, to look forward to. The Vans shoe company is once again opening its Vans Custom Culture competition to high school art classes all over the country. This will be the fourth year that Vans has held the contest.

Geared toward getting kids excited about design and art, the competition searches for the best shoe designs, with the winning school earning $50,000. In these days of declining funding for art programs -- among other depressing cuts in school spending -- I am sure that $50K would be a huge shot in the arm for your average high school art program.

Kids love Vans as it is, so this is also a good way for them to use their Vans fandom for the betterment of their school. Yes, I am sure that sounds yucky to high schoolers.

From the press release:

Each school will be tasked with customizing four favorite Vans styles: the Old Skool, 106 Vulcanized, Sk8-Hi and Classic Slip-On. Students are charged with designing each pair of shoes to fit within one of three themes representing the Vans lifestyle, including action sports, art and music and then also a fourth "local flavor" theme reflecting regional inspiration.

Schools can register here at the Vans Custom Culture website starting January 2, with registration closing on February 11. Only the first 1,500 schools will be accepted into the competition, and only one teacher from each school may register.

The Vans people will narrow down the entries so fans can vote on the company's site, starting in late April. In June, the top five schools will go to New York City to showcase their designs and celebrity judges will crown the grand prize-winning school.

The "local flavor" aspect of the contest interests me the most. What will school kids jump on? The Houston Texans, Houston's rap lineage, ZZ Top, our street-art culture, NASA? Please, kids, stay away from the cowboys and western motif. That's what the RodeoHouston art contest is for, guys.

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