High Schoolers Customize Vans Sneakers to Win Money for Their School's Arts Program

Vans Custom Culture: Contest Supports Arts in Schools
Custom Vans from Parker High School
Courtesy Vans

04/27/2016 AT 12:05 PM EDT

And you thought you were the coolest when you doodled a peace symbol on your white Vans.

In 2010, Vans founded the Vans Custom Culture design competition, aimed at raising awareness about the perilous state of arts budgets in schools across the country. The company provides blank shoes for students to design, and then a voting process winnows down the top 50 schools.

High Schoolers Customize Vans Sneakers to Win Money for Their School's Arts Program| Good Deeds, Around the Web, Real People Stories

Vans Custom Culture finalists from Raymondville High School

Courtesy Vans

Those 50 entries are further narrowed down via public voting to the top five. Schools who make the top five are flown out to California to have their artwork judged, and one lucky winner is awarded the grand prize: A $50,000 grant to their school's arts program. (The other finalists each receive $4,000 for their own arts programs.)

High Schoolers Customize Vans Sneakers to Win Money for Their School's Arts Program| Good Deeds, Around the Web, Real People Stories

Vans Custom Culture finalists from Vallivue High School

Courtesy Vans

This year, the company's partners include the Truth anti-smoking campaign, Journeys shoe stores, Americans for the Arts, and Laguna College of Art and Design. In 2016, Vans Custom Culture was also recognized as a finalist for the Cause Marketing Halo Awards for advancing the arts and art education in schools.



High Schoolers Customize Vans Sneakers to Win Money for Their School's Arts Program| Good Deeds, Around the Web, Real People Stories

Vans Custom Culture finalists from John P. Stevens High School

Courtesy Vans

You're looking at some of the designs selected as finalists in the program. The top five schools will arrive in Los Angeles on June 8 for final judging, and the grand prize winner will be selected and awarded.

High Schoolers Customize Vans Sneakers to Win Money for Their School's Arts Program| Good Deeds, Around the Web, Real People Stories

Vans Custom Culture finalists from Orange High School

Courtesy Vans

According to the organization Living the Arts through Language + Learning, students involved in the arts are four times more likely to participate in a math or science fair...

High Schoolers Customize Vans Sneakers to Win Money for Their School's Arts Program| Good Deeds, Around the Web, Real People Stories

Vans Custom Culture finalists from Evergreen Valley High School

Courtesy Vans

… three times more likely to win an award for school attendance …

High Schoolers Customize Vans Sneakers to Win Money for Their School's Arts Program| Good Deeds, Around the Web, Real People Stories

Vans Custom Culture finalists from Covington High School

Courtesy Vans

… four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement …

High Schoolers Customize Vans Sneakers to Win Money for Their School's Arts Program| Good Deeds, Around the Web, Real People Stories

Vans Custom Culture finalists from Eastern High School

Courtesy Vans

... and three times more likely to be elected to class office.
High Schoolers Customize Vans Sneakers to Win Money for Their School's Arts Program| Good Deeds, Around the Web, Real People Stories

Vans Custom Culture finalists from Friendswood High School

Courtesy Vans

For more information about the contest and to place your vote, please visit the Vans website here or look them up on Instagram at their official account or by using the hashtag #RightToArt.
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