Vans Launches Its Custom Culture High School Art Competition With a Grand Prize of $50,000

Calling all high school creatives: the Vans Custom Culture art competition program is back with a $50,000 grand prize.

The footwear brand is now accepting submissions for its 12th annual event, which supports local communities and students. This year, Vans is asking artists to submit digital shoe designs that showcase how their community is unique through the competition’s themes: “Hometown Pride” and “Head in the Clouds.”

For the opportunity, Vans has partnered with Yoobi, Americans for the Arts and Journeys to supply students and schools with resources that will help contestants bring their ideas to life.

The winner of the 2021 program will be awarded with $50,000, which will go to their school’s art program. Runner ups will also score big as the brand will present them with $15,000 and a mentorship from one of Vans’ art ambassadors: Kelly Breez, Robin Eisenberg, Todd Francis, Penelope Gazin or Jay Howell.

Additionally, Vans is offering a $500 gift card for art supplies to the designs that can be made out of eco-friendly products as well as a $500 donation per school to an environmental organization that promotes sustainability.

Registration is now open and will close on Jan. 29. The digital submission window ends on Feb. 19. Submissions will go through a selection process, and once the top 50 designs are chosen, online voting will begin on April 26. The winners will be announced in May through a virtual livestream event.

Vans first launched the competition in 2010 with the intent of inspiring high school students to embrace creativity through art and design. The competition also aims to raise support for suffering art programs. Within Custom Culture’s first five years, the competition expanded from having participation from 326 schools to over 3,000.

Of the competition, Carly Gomez, VP Marketing of Vans the Americas, said: “The variety of submissions we received in the past continues to reveal the pool of talented artist we have and the need for well-funded art education programs across the country.”

In addition to supporting art programs through the Custom Culture art program, Vans has pledged to donate funds to mental health charities.

In November, Vans revealed the brand is donating $1 million to 10 regional charities that advocate for mental health through skateboarding, surfing and art in honor of its annual Checkerboard Day.

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