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KUSA - A group of Wheat Ridge art students are hoping to win $50,000 and a trip to New York City. Their destiny lies in a pair of cheap wans shoes.
Vans sponsors a contest called Custom Culture. Art students from around the country paint pairs of their shoes, and submit them in a contest.
People vote online, and the winners from five different regions are then flown to New York for a final competition. The winner of that competition takes home $50,000 for their local art department.
Wheat Ridge Art teacher Franky Scaglione says the competition is huge for his class. He initially helped inspire the contest six years ago.
"Rather than painting on a canvas, we painted on a pair of zentangle shoes. We made a fashion show out of it," Scaglione said. "The fashion show was picked up by Vans, who created a contest out of it."
His class is the only team in Colorado competing. He says it would be a huge win for them.
"Getting kids to create and inspire in a different way is really important. It's a really special and unique thing to be a part of," Scaglione said. "Each year, the kids seem to want to out due the previous year. "
The kids chose the theme of 1966 - the year Vans was created. Popular westerns, a Beatles album, and pop art are all featured on the pairs of shoes.
Junior Sean Gaouette says painting on the Beats headphones online means a lot to kids in high school.
"Vans has become, just, this kind of this, cult classic in teen society," Gaouette said. "Everyone has a pair of Vans, and so saying that I painted on Vans gets people interested."
"I never thought I'd be painting on shoes," sophomore Madison Bozik said.
"When I came into the class every day, I'd be like, 'Oh yes, I get to work on these shoes and create something different.'"
While the creativity is an important part of the class, the students and Scaglione know the importance of winning the trip to New York.
"I've never been to New York, so being able to go there, and show what us high school students can do in such a big city would be a great experience," Bozik said.
"So much dedication and effort has gone into these that New York would be the ultimate payoff," Gaouette exclaimed.