Voting open through May 4 for annual Vans Custom Culture contest with grand prize of $75,000


The public voting period is now open for the ninth annual Vans Custom Culture competition that will eventually result in one high school arts program in the U.S. landing a $75,000 donation.

Through 5 p.m. Pacific on May 4, individuals can visit this website and vote (one vote per email address per day) for their favorite designs from among the 50 semi-finalists that have been winnowed down from the original field of 500 schools.

The competition works like this: Each school submits two pairs of blank Vans sneakers that have been decorated according to two themes of “Local Flavor” and “Off the Wall.”


New to the competition this year is that each school was also asked to include a document explaining how the school community would benefit from taking home the prize money. (Those documents are posted alongside photos of the submissions.)

Among the field of 50 semi-finalists are three California schools — San Diego’s Canyon Crest Academy, Danville’s Monte Vista High School and Fairfield’s Angelo Rodriguez High School — as well as two runners-up from the 2017 competition, Fontainbleau High School (Mandeville, La.) and Friendswood High School (Friendswood, Texas). Last year’s $50,000 grand prize was won by students from Parker High School in Parker, S.D.

In mid-May, one of those five finalist high schools will land the $75,000 grand prize for their school’s art program as well as a lunchtime party courtesy of Costa Mesa-based Vans and its competition partner brands (including Journeys, Yoobi, Laguna College of Art + Design and Americans for the Arts), while the four runner-up schools will receive a $10,000 donation each ( an increase from $4,000 per runner-up last year).

For more musings on all things fashion and style, follow me at @ARTschorn.