EGHS seniors showcase shoe art in online contest


Luka Turanjanin, Staff Reporter

Popular shoe brand Vans hosted its annual Custom Culture competition in spring 2019. In this competition, many high schools across the United States make customly designed shoes, and people vote on which design is best. The high school that gets first place wins $75,000 directed towards the schools arts program.

“It’s really fun getting to design the shoe, and just being apart of the team makes me feel closer to the kids in my art class,” senior and Custom Culture contender Maeve Terranova said.

Terranova and senior Anna Slezak — along with Angeline Mena, Paulina Kusion, Alexa Scaramuzza, Lisandra Vazquez and Avi Patel — have worked on the design of the shoes that represented Elk Grove in the competition.

Although Elk Grove did not make the final cut of the top five finishers, the senior art students were pleased to be involved in the competition.

“It was a lot of work but I’m happy being a part of something that could potentially improve our art department at EG,” Slezak said.

Each school that competes are given two plain, white and laceless shoes for the artists to design. One shoe has to have a design with one of the two main themes, while the other shoe is designed with the second main theme. The two main themes that students have to design are “Off the Wall” and “Local Flavors.”

“Off the Wall” is Vans’ main motto to represent the quirky nature of the shoe brand itself. The second theme “Local Flavors” is supposed to represent the culture of the town, state or major city that the high school is close to.

Slezak said she had enjoyed much of her experience in arts throughout her four years at Elk Grove, along with Terranova.

“I feel like without art, there isn’t life,” Terranova said.

In addition to the contest, the students have built a foundation of artwork  they’ve worked throughout their high school years. Teacher Jennifer Aguilar said she believes the biggest impact from the competition was watching the students team up.

Pacyk said that although the art department is pretty successful in general, the $75,000 prize can really help update art facilities and equipment.

“I think it will help draw positive attention to the art department,” Pacyk said over the course of the competition.

Aguilar and Pacyk said they like having their students being able to partake in such a competition.

“It really is supportive of arts, education, creativity,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar also mentioned how it was good that Vans is nationally showcasing the artistic talents of their students.

Terranova said the opportunity has helped expand her artistic capabilities and let her creativity loose. Slezak agrees.

“It basically connects everyone,” Slezak said. “You work together, get constructive criticism, and you improve as a person.”