CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- What is Vans Custom Culture, you ask? It's a competition designed to help high school students across the U.S. embrace their creativity as well as raise funds and awareness for the importance of art programs in high schools.Vans Custom Culture, which started in 2010, tasks U.S. high school art classes with turning Vans shoes into works of art. The winning program receives $50,000.Registration is underway and runs through Feb. 11. The contest is open to high school art classes, and a teacher or school administrator must compete the registration.The first 1,500 schools to register get four pairs of Vans and have until April 5 to create their masterpieces and submit their designs. Each pair must fit a different category: "Vans lifestyle," action sports, art and music and local flavor, which reflects on regional inspiration.
Fifty finalists will be chosen by a judges' panel from Vans. The public can vote from April 22-May 13. The top five schools will travel to New York City in June to showcase their designs to celebrity judges, who will pick the winner.No one goes away empty-handed, though. The four runners-up receive $4,000 for their school's art program. The best local flavor design will also receive $10,000 for their program from Journeys.The winning design will be produced and sold in select Vans stores. For more details, visit www.vans.com/customculture