One out of 3,000. The Mott/Regent Art students were one of of 3,000 groups of high schoolers to be chosen by the shoe company, Vans, to participate in a shoe design contest.
By COLE BENZ
The Vans Shoe Custom Culture competition randomly selects the 3,000 participants and sends them four different styles of blank, canvas shoes. The students then formulate a design for each shoe and send in pictures of their finished products.
The grand prize is $50,000 to be used towards the school’s art program.
In February, Mott/Regent’s Art teacher Ruth Southerland received a postcard in the mail detailing the competition, she followed the registration procedures and responded to the company via email with their school’s interest. And they were chosen.
“When they sent me the postcard in the mail, it was kind of one those things ‘well I’ll see what this is about,’” Southerland said. “And then they picked us, and sent us shoes, so then my kids were really stoked.”
Southerland than received contest details outlined in a 30-page packet of the competition’s do’s and don’t’s. They also received their blank canvas; four pairs of white shoes.
“It’s like starting with a blank canvas, but that blank canvas is [a pair of] shoes,” Southerland said.
Students had free range of designs, but they did have to follow four themes: Art, Music, Extreme Sports and Local Flavor (something that represents the region).
Southerland’s 12 art students broke up into four different groups to come up with the different designs for the shoes. But they didn’t hesitate to help one another.
“Even though they were working on their own, individual pair of shoes, they would also offer insight to the other groups,” Southerland said.
The art teacher told the Herald that her students worked on the project for “a good three weeks.”
The group was given supplies by Vans, but some students opted for watercolor paint and permanent markers.
Following the completion of the designs, the group had to photograph the shoes in a group, and also take individual pictures of each pair. Then they had to send them in, via email, on Friday, April 8 for the designs to be judged.
Southerland said she will receive notice if they have reached the top 50. If they are among the top designs, the community will have a chance to go online and participate in a final vote. Winners will move on to design a skate board deck—the wood portion of a skateboard.
Though only one school will receive the $50,000, Southerland said there are a few other prizes Vans is giving away, including a scholarship for the Laguna College of Art and Design. She said five schools will be chosen for that scholarship and the school will then need to select the student to receive the education dollars.
The contest was restricted to high school art students (grades nine through 12), but Southerland said she has had a lot of interest from her younger students, which she said a good attraction for the younger students to look forward at.
She said the contest was a good thing for the students, because it forced them to get more creative and work as a group, which is something the company encouraged.
“I think it’s just a neat project to help he kids think outside of the box,” Southerland said.
Southerland said she should be hearing about the contest in the coming week, and no matter the outcome, her students were thrilled to be included in such a wide scale competition.