Vans Story

This month, four art students will be competing in the Vans Custom Culture competition. The competition encourages high school students to express their creativity by designing a pair of Vans shoes. The winner’s customized shoes will be sold by the company, and the art program at his or her school will receive a $50,000 prize. Each of the four participants received a general theme: sports, culture, art, or music.

“I’m doing the old school style Vans and sports,” explains participant Maleesa Tran. “I chose to do surfing because in Florida we have a lot of beaches. It’s a water based theme.”

This is the first year that Mary Wilson, the art teacher, has facilitated the participation of her students in the competition. She encourages the students to apply techniques that they have learned in art class to their designs.

“I think it’s really cool to have the students look at the shoes as a sculpture, really, and to take their ideas and put them in three dimensions,” Wilson said. “You’re not really looking at them as something to wear at this point but just a place to create your art and see it from all angles.”

Wilson is confident in her students’ abilities. She selected participants based on their preliminary sketches of the designs and their ability to meet deadlines.

“It would definitely help our program if we were to get the money, and it would be really great for the kid that they were selected because Vans is such a large company. To have them select your artwork would mean a lot.”

Winners will be notified in May.