Vans Custom Culture art competition

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Vans Custom Culture art competition  Ocean City High School students participated in the Van's Custom Culture art competition. Four entries were selected and are now on their way to California. If the school's entries are selected in the top 50, the community will have an opportunity to help the school's art program win a $50,000 top prize. From left, Ryan Givens, Katie Leadvetter, Carly Roeck and Dan Loggi pose with their designs.  OCEAN CITY — Carly Roeck has never been surfing, but she loves the surf culture. So when it came time to custom design a pair of sneakers for a national competition, she knew exactly what she wanted to paint.  

Roeck, an Ocean City High School senior, was one of four students at the school whose vibrant designs were selected to compete in the Van’s Custom Culture Art Competition.

“My favorite part of this was trying something new, painting on a different canvas,” Roeck said, as she applied the finishing touches. “It’s really cool and it’s been a lot of fun. I always wanted to learn to surf, so I decided to put the surfing scene on the shoe.”

Students Ryan Givens, Katie Leadvetter, Dan Loggi and Roeck hand-painted canvas shoes with bright and colorful designs. The sneakers are now on their way to California, where they may win funding for the school’s art program.

The competition for high school students is in its fifth year.

Ocean City High School was one of 2,000 schools selected to submit designs. Each school received four pairs of blank Vans sneakers to be customized in four themes: Art, Music, Action Sports and Local Flavor. The contest was open to art and photography students and four designs were chosen.

The top 50 entries will be selected by Vans staff next week and announced on April 25. Of those, the public can vote for their favorite online from April 25 to May 12.

The five finalists will be flown to New York for an all-expenses-paid three-day trip, including an event to crown the contest winner.
The grand prize winner will receive a $50,000 donation to their school’s art program and the chance for their shoes to be produced and sold in Vans’ retail stores. To sweeten the deal, the four runners up will each receive $4,000 prizes for their programs.

“I’m very proud of the students, they did a great job,” said Adriana Palmer, who teaches photography at Ocean City High School and is working with art teacher Paul Matusz on the project. “We’re very excited; the sneakers are awesome!”

The quality of the designs and the finished products stand up pretty well against previous winners, she said.

“I think we have a pretty good shot,” she said. “They put a lot of effort into this. I wanted to see where we stand, so I compared and I think we’re looking good.”

Leadvetter, a photography student, picked the local flavor theme. She walked the boardwalk.

“I took pictures of the individual boards,” she said, which appear on the sides of the sneakers. She then superimposed street signs and other boardwalk signs.

Loggi picked the music theme. His high-top sneakers feature a turntable, a sound bar, speakers and a studio soundboard.

“It was fun painting on the shoe,” he said, adding that the exercise challenged him. Making a simple design on paper work on canvas was complicated, he said. “It really tested how well I could paint, my abilities.”

Loggi said he loves music.

“My dad brought me to a lot of concerts as I was growing up,” he said. “He showed me a lot about music, which inspired me.”

Loggi said he enjoys painting, too, so the exercise, combing both, was “lots of fun.”

Givens’ sneakers feature multicolored hand-painted flowers. 

“Ryan really likes flower designs,” said Palmer. “One day he brought carnations to class, and did a whole photo series with them. Flowers are very popular right now, on clothing, purses and shoes. He did a great job.”

Matusz said he was impressed with the effort and enthusiasm the competition has generated.

“The students did a really good job,” he said. “One of the coolest things has been watching the other students react, as they have watched the whole thing come to fruition. It’s been inspirational.”

When the competition started, students were invited to design sneakers on a paper outline.

About 100 students participated, but many could not envision how the design would work on a pair of shoes. The four students who were eventually selected, “got it,” he said.

“Some of the others did not expect it all to come together like that,” he said. Now that they are able to see the finished product, they see what is possible.

“They could not conceive how cool the sneakers were going to look,” he said.

The contest, he said, has been educational as well as lots of fun. Students invested a lot of time and effort into creating their designs, he said.

Palmer said it’s important for the community to support the students if OCHS is selected. Online voting will determine the outcome.

“So if we make that top 50, we will let everyone know, so they get out there and vote for OCHS!” Palmer said.

 “This was a really fun way to end my senior year,” said Roeck, who is headed for the University of Delaware next year and will major in visual communications.

The four entries that were selected. 
  The four entries that were selected.

  Carly Roeck's sports surf culture design. Carly Roeck's sports surf culture design.

 Dan Loggi's music design. Dan Loggi's music design.

 Katie Leadvetter's local flavor design. Katie Leadvetter's local flavor design.

Ryan Givens' design.  Ryan Givens' design.

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