BAHS art program hopes to win Vans contest

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This year, Broken Arrow High School art classes are stepping into a new realm of creativity: customizing shoes.

The 2016 Vans Custom Culture competition requires high school students to decorate and paint blank Vans shoes to create their own footwear masterpiece. High schools around the nation compete in this competition and Broken Arrow is prepared to win.

“I’ve done this contest two other years prior to coming to Broken Arrow and knew it was a fun one,” art teacher Jennifer Brown said. “We chose some students who we thought would be motivated to do a great job and they did!”

Junior Josh Haltom and seniors Sonja Truong, Kacie Brown and Emily Catlin each created and customized their own design on a pair of blank Vans shoes to fit into one of the four categories: art, music, action sports and local flavor. The designs are then submitted and voted upon first by judges and then by the public for the top five schools.

The top five schools with the best designs will be sent to California and one grand prize winner receives a $50,000 check towards their school’s art program. The other four schools win $5,000 for their art programs. The four BAHS art students selected to compete are excited for the opportunity.

“I had never drawn on shoes before so it was fun to do,” art student senior Sonja Truong said. “I hope we can win and go to California.”

Even though the competition may be tough, the Vans Custom Culture contest is about more than winning as described on their website.

“Vans Custom Culture was created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets. Vans believes everyone should be empowered to express themselves creatively and should be given the tools to do so,” according to the Vans website.

Art students are grateful for the supplies and facilities they do have, but with budget cuts being put in place, the arts program could put additional funding to good use.

“I feel that we have a good chance to advance in the competition,” junior Josh Haltom said. “I’m glad that I will eventually get my Vans back and will get to wear them because they’re my size.”

For more information on the 2016 Vans Custom Culture competition, visit The designs created by Haltom, Truong, Brown and Catlin have already been sent in to Vans, but pictures of the shoes are available on

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