Arts & Culture

This Kansas high school could win $75k for art program, but students needs your help

Larned High School, in central Kansas, made it to the semi-finals of the Vans Custom Culture contest by designing two pairs of shoes — one that's "off the wall" and another with "local flavor." The students now want your votes.
Larned High School, in central Kansas, made it to the semi-finals of the Vans Custom Culture contest by designing two pairs of shoes — one that's "off the wall" and another with "local flavor." The students now want your votes. Vans

Art students in a central-Kansas town could use your help in winning $75,000 for their high school's art program.

The Larned High School art program is in the semi-finals of the Vans Custom Culture contest and need votes from the community to win the top prize.

The students are in the top 50 out of more than 2,000 schools who entered two different shoe designs — one that's "off the wall" and another with "local flavor" — along with an essay on how the money would affect their art program since suffering budget cuts.

Larned is about two hours west of Wichita with a population of 3,900.

"Does a small town in Middle America possess any young artistic talent?" the students wrote in their "impact document" to Vans. "We would say yes, because even though we are a small town full of farmers and ranchers, we can perform in band or choir, and play sports, but also we have the chance to express ourselves through artwork."

The shoe designs the students entered did not have to be wearable, but "just fun and off the wall!" according to the Larned school district. The "off the wall" design features a beach scene with waves and seashells, while the "local flavor" design features a sunset along with the silhouette of a water tower and leafless tree.

If the students win the prize money, they said they would use the money to improve the "poorly regulated heat and air in the art room," according to the essay. They also would like to get new brushes, better computer monitors, new drawing tablets, more cabinets and shelves and better lighting.

"If we win, these are the supplies and furniture that we would purchase which will attract more students in the LHS art program," the essay states. "Then, the school and community will increase their support of the art program and take pride in our accomplishments ... then we could bring the community into our creative center and be proud of it. A stronger art program will allow the students of LHS more freedom of expression within themselves and others."

Fort Larned USD 495 asked the community on Facebook to vote once per day.

You can vote at https://customculture.vans.com. Voting began on Monday, and a spokeswoman with Vans said more than 70,000 votes were cast on the first day. Because of the influx of traffic, the website may be slow when you try to vote.

It "should work better over the next few days," according to the spokeswoman.

Voting ends May 4. The program with the most votes will receive $75,000, and the four runners-up will receive $10,000 for their art programs.



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