Words via Vans:
“Vans, the original action sports and youth culture brand, is proud to welcome John P. Stevens High School from Edison, N.J. to the ranks of winners of the Vans Custom Culture design competition. As the grand-prize winner, John P. Stevens High School has been awarded a donation of $50,000 for the school’s arts education programs to help foster the students’ #RightToArt and support the next generation of creative individuals.
In partnership with Americans for the Arts, Journeys, truth®, Laguna College of Art and Design and Blick Art Materials, Vans hosted the top five high school finalists at a final event held on June 8 at MAMA Gallery in downtown Los Angeles. Vans reached out to creative minds across action sports, art, music and street culture to form a panel of judges that exemplify what it means to invest in the creativity of their respective talents. This year, YouTube personality Maddi Bragg, Vans professional surfer Dylan Graves and top chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo behind Los Angeles restaurants Animal, Jon & Vinny’s and Son of a Gun, as well as special musical guest Echosmith, selected the winning custom Vans shoe designs among a talented group of young artists representing the top five high schools. The remaining finalists – Eastern High School (Louisville, Ky.), Moanalua High School (Honolulu, Hawaii), Orange High School (Orange, Calif.) and Sandy High School (Sandy, Ore.) were each awarded $4,000 on behalf of Vans toward their arts programs.
“Art has always been an essential ingredient of the Vans DNA. Whether it was through creating custom footwear for the skateboarders of the Dogtown era or young kids doodling checkerboard across their sneakers, Vans have been a canvas of expression for 50 years,” said Kevin Bailey, VF and Vans Global Action Sports and Outdoor Brand President. “We created Vans Custom Culture to not only raise awareness of declining arts education budgets across the country, but because we also inherently believe that today’s youth deserve the Right to Art. As such, it is our duty to provide a platform that enables creative expression for generations to come.”
Now in its seventh year, the Vans Custom Culture competition continues to inspire and empower creativity among high school students across the country. Since the inaugural competition, more than 10 percent of high schools nationally have participated in Vans Custom Culture and more than $600,000 has been contributed to support arts programs. Nearly 3,000 high schools registered for this year’s competition, designing four pairs of blank Vans based on four themes: Action Sports, Art, Music and Local Flavor. One of the designs from the grand-prize winners, John P. Stevens High School, has the opportunity to be produced and sold in select Vans retail stores, as well as online at Vans.com.
In addition to the grand prize, Vans donated an additional $50,000 to non-profit partner, Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading organization for advancing the arts and art education. This year, Vans Custom Culture was recognized for its innovative charitable approach, taking home top honors in the education category for the 2016 Cause Marketing Halo Awards.
Vans Custom Culture partners Journeys, truth® and Laguna College of Art and Design also provided participating schools the opportunity to raise additional funds for their art education programs. As a long time Vans partner, Journeys awarded a $15,000 ‘Local Attitude’ award to Moanalua High School for creating the most compelling ‘local flavor’ design.
truth®, one of the nation’s most successful and longest running youth smoking prevention campaign, challenged the students to customize a skate deck inspired by their reaction to a raw fact about tobacco. Station Camp High School in Gallatin, Tenn., took home the $10,000 truth® donation, for its winning design that shows what it looks like when smoking is finished for good.
Finally, Laguna College of Art and Design, a premier national art and design college and the first to offer a BFA degree in Action Sports design, partnered with Vans to provide the opportunity for every single student that participated in the 2016 competition the chance to apply for a $25,000 scholarship to be received upon admission. Almost 80 students will be eligible for the scholarship, which will enable them to continue their creative path and earn their BFA in Design + Digital Media.”
To view pictures from the final event please click here and for more information on Vans Custom Culture visit Vans.com/CustomCulture. Follow the movement on Instagram @vans.custom.culture and by using the hashtags #RightToArt and #VansCustomCulture.
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