Tuesday was a big day for Hailey Gross’ art class at Van Wert High School. It was the day when art students would learn where they finished in Vans Custom Culture art competition that had a top prize of $75,000.
VWHS students attended an assembly Tuesday afternoon at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio to find out where the local submission placed. While VWHS didn’t win the top prize, Gross and her students earned $10,000 for a national top five finish in the competition.
Vans Custom Culture was created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design, and bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets.
The competition began with submissions in January, with 500 schools selected in February to compete in the Custom Culture contest.
Art students at VWHS and the other schools then spent the past two months designing customized Vans shoes for the competition using this year’s themes: “Local Flavor” and “Off the Wall”. Images were submitted in April and voting was held from April 22 to May 3 to determine the top five submissions.
VWHS was named one of the top five schools, along with Atherton High School in Louisville, Kentucky, Flagstaff (Arizona) High School, New Bedford (Massachusetts) High School, and Seneca Valley Senior High School in Harmony, Pennsylvania, on May 6.
Gross said she plans to spend the $10,000 prize on electric potter wheels and updated ceramic and sculpture materials.
VWHS students participating in the project included Caton Williamson, Lily Good, McKenzey Sanderson, Paige Moonshower, Katie McVaigh, Erin Cassidy, Savannah Nygren, Kathryn Wray, Jennifer Haggis, Ayana Rowe, Max Laney, Alexis Metz, and Casey Kiracofe.
DAVE MOSIER / independent editor