School semi-finalist for $50,000


Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs High School has been selected as one of the top 50 semi-finalists for the Vans Custom Culture design and art competition.

According to a press release by the company, “Vans Custom Culture was created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design, while calling attention to the fact that school art programs are suffering due to shrinking education budgets.”

More than 2,000 schools entered the competition earlier this year, each creating four custom designs that “represent Vans ‘Off the Wall’ lifestyle.” Designs were supposed to focus on action sports, music, art and local flavor.

Students used blank sneakers as their canvas and PSHS held a school-wide contest to determine which designs they would send off to the competition.

Pagosa’s designs were selected by an internal panel to be among the top 50 semi-finalists. Now, it is up to the public to vote for the top five schools to make it the finals in New York City, where they will have a chance to win $50,000 for their school’s art program.

The four schools selected as runners-up will be awarded $4,000 for their art programs and finalists are also eligible for a $10,000 “Local Attitude” award for the most compelling local flavor design.

All 50 finalists, including PSHS, have the opportunity “to compete for a $10,000 award from truth — the nation’s largest youth smoking prevention campaign,” states the press release.

For the “truth” award, participants must create a customized skateboard deck inspired by their reaction to the following tobacco fact: “‘In 2006, a judge ruled that Big Tobacco had been engaged in a 50-year scheme to deceive the public about the dangers of smoking.”

To date, Vans has put more than $320,000 back into high school art programs through their Custom Culture competitions.

You can see Pagosa’s designs, and vote for your favorites, now through May 12 by visiting