Despite school closings across the country, Vans went forward with its annual Vans Custom Culture competition this year, which empowers high school students to embrace the arts and their creative talents through a customization contest using blank Vans shoes.
Today, the brand announced Strawberry Mansion High School of Philadelphia and George Washington High School of San Francisco as the contest winners, with both receiving $50,000 to benefit their schools’ art programs.
To win, Vans ask students to apply their creativity on the blank canvas of a physical white slip-on. However, due to the pandemic, the company made an additional category, allowing digital submissions for the first time ever. George Washington High School took home that first place prize.
In addition, the top four runner-up schools from both the digital and physical categories will now receive an artist mentorship program equaling one digital lesson from one of Vans’ art ambassadors in the fall. Those winners include South Lafourche High School in Louisiana, Vallivue East High School in Idaho, Brooklyn’s High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology and Clay High School in Ohio.
“Enabling creativity remains our focus and we quickly pivoted the program so all participating schools could submit their designs even if they were stuck at home,” said VP of marketing Carly Gomez. “The submissions we received far exceeded our expectations and the participation from students showcased the creative spirit when it’s needed the most.”
Vans Custom Culture first launched in 2010 will the goal of bringing art to the forefront and awareness to diminishing arts education budgets. Since then, Vans has put more than $1 million back into high school art programs nationwide. Vans also offers opportunities for consumers to express their creative side with its customization platform on Vans.com.