Last June, 20 art students, accompanied by their teacher, Ms. Foulk, flew across the country to New York City to showcase their artwork at the Vans Custom Culture Contest. This year, they’re gearing up to come back stronger and win first place.
The purpose of the Vans Custom Culture Contest is to encourage appreciation for art, design and creativity. Each competing school receives four pairs of plain white Vans shoes. The shoes are the students’ “blank canvases,” and students will customize each pair around one of the four themes: art, music, action sports and local flavor. The local flavor theme is the chance for Ms. Foulks’ students to use their creativity and show the rest of the country what makes Carlsbad so unique. Last year was the first year the art class at Carlsbad had competed in this contest. .Surprisingly, the CHS art program came in second place out of 2000 schools and won $4,000.
“This year, we have a specific group of students that is committed to making the Vans awesome,” Foulk said. “We are meeting at lunches every Monday and Friday to come up with our designs, practice them and get it solid so that we can start right away and make them really nice.”
The CHS team is comprised of 20 art students from several of the art classes including drawing and painting, AP art and even some art 1 students.
“You do have to be in my class to go on the trip, but anyone can come in at lunch and contribute ideas,” Foulk said. “So far, we’ve been coming up with really unique and out-of-the-box ideas to bring the shoes to life.”
Although the team is really keeping its ideas confidential, it is excited to try new ways of making the shoes interactive and more impressive than last year’s pairs.
“Each person contributes a couple of designs, ideas and some supplies,” junior Lehua Plaza said. “Later on in the year, we actually start documenting how we work on it. I’m supposed to do the recording of it all, like take pictures of the process and our designs. That way, when it finally comes time for people to vote for us, we can put all that out there and publicize it really well.”
The top five finalists from the different regions in the country will be flown to the contest’s final event in New York City, where it was held last year as well. The first place winning school will receive $50,000 for its high school art department and the opportunity to sell its designed shoes in Vans’ retail stores.
“I contributed a design to the team for our art-themed shoe, and my teacher and most of the people on the team have liked it,” Plaza said. “I’m super excited too discuss it and see our hard work come to life.”