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RIO RANCHO HIGH SCHOOL WINS THE VANS CUSTOM CULTURE

Vans announces Rio Rancho High School of New Mexico as the winner of the fifth annual Custom Culture art and design competition. At the final event held on June 10 at New York City’s Industria Superstudio, celebrity judges MKTO, Steve Caballero, Matt Shultz, Kemal Harris and Eley & Kishimoto selected the winning custom shoe designs among the top five finalist schools. Vans presented Rio Rancho High School with the grand-prize $50,000 donation to support its art program. Vans also awarded the four runner-up schools – Carlsbad High School (Calif.),Cinnaminson High School (N.J.), Eastern High School (Ky.), Parker High School (S.D.) – with a $4,000 donation each for their art programs.

Now in its fifth year, Custom Culture continues to drive creativity and inspire high school art students across the country by providing the opportunity to compete for $50,000 for their schools’ art programs. This year, 2,000 schools participated in the competition, receiving four pairs of blank Vans shoes to use as a canvas and design according to four different themes: Art, Music, Action Sports and ‘Local Flavor.’ The winning shoe design will also be produced and sold in select Vans and Journeys retail stores, and online at Vans.com and Journeys.com. On behalf of these shoe sales, Vans donated an additional $50,000 to Americans for the Arts to fund educational materials and school grants throughout the year.

“The growth of Custom Culture within the past five years has exceeded our expectations and enabled us to make a difference for more students than we could have imagined when we started this program,” said Kevin Bailey, president of Vans. “In the face of school budget cuts where art education is often the first to go, Vans is proud to lend a hand and help open doors to art-based careers to support the creative future of our youth.”

Custom Culture partners truth® and Journeys also provided participating schools with an additional opportunity to raise funds for their art programs. truth®, the nation’s largest youth smoking prevention campaign, challenged the 50 semi-finalists to customize a skateboard deck inspired by their reaction to the following fact:  In 2006, a judge ruled that Big Tobacco had been engaged in a 50-year-long scheme to deceive the public about the dangers of smoking. truth® awarded Sandy  High School from Sandy, Oregon with $10,000 for  its art program. Additionally, Journeys awarded Parker High School a $10,000 donation for the ‘Local Attitude’ design best illustrating the school’s local community.

Vans Custom Culture has grown exponentially since its inception in 2010, reaching hundreds of thousands of students and putting more than $375,000 back into high school art programs nationwide to date. For more information, please visit the Custom Culture page.