Art students participate in Vans Custom Culture contest

Students of Advanced Art and AP Art were invited to participate in the Vans Custom Culture contest. Walnut High School was sent four blank pairs of canvas shoes to create a design around four themes: art, music, action sports and local culture. The top five designs around the country will be decided in early June, and the school of the grand prize winner will receive $50,000 toward its arts program.

“Drawing on a piece of paper or canvas is really different than drawing on a shoe, so it’s something really different to work with,” junior Savanna Lee, who is basing her design on music, said. “I think it’s cool, and it gives students the opportunity to express themselves through a fun medium.”

Juniors Rowena Ma and Angela Zhang mentioned the contest to art teacher Michelle O’Shields, who then presented it as an optional project for the students.

“I just thought that [the contest] would be fun, and since Walnut is in the process of having its art programs accredited, it would help the school as well,” Ma said. “Besides the $50,000 award, I think it would bring a lot of recognition to the school and its students. It also might inspire others to not only partake in art contests but also find other ways to showcase their talents.”

Designs were submitted on April 8 and will be narrowed down to the top fifty entries from around the nation. Vans marketing executives and designers will evaluate the shoes based on how creative the designs are and how relevant they are to the chosen theme. The second round of judging, which will be based off of scores from the previous round and a public poll, will cement the decision for the top five entries. After a showcase of the finalist designs, a grand prize winner will be chosen.

“One of our overall goals for the Walnut High School of the Arts is to have more opportunities to make the arts program more visible to the general student population. When kids hear about [the competition], it’s more than just ‘here, create a painting and have it judged.’ This is a competition with a globally recognized company like Vans and an opportunity to win a contest where the prize is substantial,” O’Shields said. “I think it is very neat because it has a local theme, and the kids would also get to use a canvas they normally wouldn’t use. So it’s a mix of good prize, different medium to paint on and subject matter that makes it fun for them.”

By Natalie Jiang, Staff Writer

Photo by Sajid Iqbal