A pretty Brownsville girl’s Charro Days dress blends into the ocean and the Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge on a pair of Vans tennis shoes designed by art students at Veterans Memorial High School for the Vans Custom Culture shoe design contest.
The design is one of four Veterans student submissions that won them a place among the top 10 in the contest’s Southwest region. Now they hope to go to nationals and compete for a $50,000 grand prize.
“Eight artists worked on the shoes, two people per shoe,” said Kaylia Crockett, a junior and one of the painters. She said 15 students worked on the project and all collaborated on ideas and creating sketches.
Christina Garza, who worked on the design with the charra, said that pair of Vans is the “local color” part of the entry.
“We sketched it out on the shoe and then we painted,” she said. “It’s supposed to be basic Brownsville and South Padre Island. ... The dress starts turning into the ocean and then the causeway. There’s a resaca on the back of the shoe and the sunset.”
“We’re hoping we get enough votes to go to nationals,” she and the other VMHS art students added.
Art teacher Sylvia Villarreal signed VMHS up for the contest in time to get in under the contest’s 2,000-school limit. Vans then sent the school four pair of shoes in four different styles.
On April 25 the students got word that their entry was one of the top 10 in the Southwest region and top 50 in the nation.
That qualified them for the online part of the contest. Voting continues through Monday. To vote, go to vans.com/customculture, click vote, click “southwest” and choose Veterans Memorial High School. Only one vote per IP address is allowed.
One winner will be chosen from each of five regions in the country and each will receive a trip to New York City to compete for the top prize, Villarreal said.
In New York, one grand prize winner will be chosen. That school’s local color design will then become the design for an actual Vans shoe for one year.
The local color competition includes an additional $10,000 prize courtesy of Journeys shoes. Journeys also sponsors a skateboard art design competition as part of the Custom Culture contest. That contest also carries a $10,000 prize.
Journeys similarly sent a blank skateboard deck to VMHS, for which students are now designing the artwork, art instructor Javier Barbosa said.
Villarreal said this is the first time Veterans Memorial has entered the contest.
“That $50,000 would be wonderful for our art department,” she said, mentioning scholarships and the hardware to do more digital media.
“The kids came up with the designs on their own. I’m really proud of them. We’re trying to get the whole community aware of it ... and get the votes to New York.”