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It's always refreshing to see companies giving back to the community. In Vans case, they are giving back to the whole country. Last night at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the brand invited big wigs from various industries like Tony Alva (skateboarder), Hayden Panettiere (actor), Nicole Young (fashion expert), Jordan Buckley (musician), and Mister Cartoon (artist) to help judge a sneaker design contest, Custom Culture, promoting arts in the US school system.
This was the second year that Vans held the Custom Culture contest. Their goal was to get involvement from all 50 states and they did. The top five schools were flown to New York City to see their work exhibited at the Cooper-Hewitt (in rooms adjacent to the Van Cleef exhibit) and to find out which school won the contest. Panettiere along with Vans President, Kevin Bailey, announced Melville High School in Long Island as the winning team and awarded the school a $50,000 donation toward their arts program.
You maybe thinking, "why is Vans doing all of this?" Here is what they note in their release:
Lack of funding for arts education has become a national epidemic that led Vans to create an annual contest to help inspire kids to enact change in their own communities. In New York alone, schools experienced a decrease of 20.8 percent across their arts budgets from 2009 to 2010 and a 34.4 percent decline in their funds for art supplies and equipment. And New York is not alone – schools across the country are experiencing significant budget cuts that are leading the eradication of arts education entirely. Art programs encourage innovation and nonlinear thinking, skills that can be used not only in academic settings but in the professional world as well. Last year, IBM asked 1,500 corporate CEOs from 33 industries to name their top “leadership competency” and they ranked creativity first. Vans’ Custom Culture program strives to provide students the incentive and opportunity to get creative while making a positive change in their schools and communities.
Coming from a design school background, we applaud Vans efforts in keeping arts education a priority in schools across America.
· Vans [Official Site]