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Presenting Our Vans Custom Culture Grant Winning Schools

Learning in the arts enables every individual to develop the critical thinking, collaborative, and creative skills necessary to succeed in today’s ever-changing world. Vans and its national charity partner Americans for the Arts envision a country where every child has access to—and takes part in–high quality learning experiences in the arts, both in school and in the community.

Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce, as a component of its ongoing partnership with Vans, the winners of the inaugural year of the Vans Custom Culture Grant Program. This new grant program seeks to increase both visibility for and resources available to schools across the country who are engaged in working to sustain the arts as a vital part of education.

The grant program is supported by funds from Vans Custom Culture—an art competition whose winners design a shoe that is produced and sold by Vans. (Make sure your school registers to enter the shoe design competition to win up to $50,000 for its art education program!)

Vans Custom Culture Grants are available to public high schools (grades 9-12) that have allowed arts education to thrive in their school community. The grants are intended to encourage the inclusion of the arts as an integral component of an excellent education, and to support activities that are consistent with local and national learning standards for arts education.

To be considered for the grant, schools had to complete a formal application, which included a cover form; a one-page letter of recommendation; two work samples that demonstrate students’ work in either visual arts and/or music; a project budget and narrative; and a description of how the school meets the eligibility criteria of the grant.

The winning schools were selected by a review panel comprised of three national arts education experts, as well as staff of VANS and Americans for the Arts.

Vans Custom Culture recipient: New World School of the Arts’ Jazz Ensemble

Here is a list of the 10 winning schools that received a $2,000 grant to support their work in providing high-quality music and/or visual arts instruction for students:

Bayside High SchoolBaysideNY
East Boston High SchoolEast BostonMA
El Cuarto Año High SchoolChicagoIL
Fenway High SchoolBostonMA
Henry W. Grady High SchoolAtlantaGA
Lindblom Math & Science AcademyChicagoIL
Norwalk High SchoolNorwalkCA
Oxford AcademyCypressCA
Newark Memorial HSNewarkCA
New World School of the ArtsMiamiFL

Schools will use the funds to support their visual arts and/or music programs. For example, Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta will be using the funds to create a mural. New World School of the Arts in Miami will use the funds to buy new recording equipment that will allow their students to create professional recordings for college auditions and scholarships.

Lindblom Academy in Chicago will purchase 15 digital still/video cameras to create a more contemporary and student‐culture program, provide more students with the technology they need to complete projects, and move the program away from using teachers’ personal equipment. Here’s an example of the work Lindblom Academy is already doing:

Vans Custom Culture recipient: Lindblom Academy in Chicago

“Research shows that students who study the arts outperform their peers who do not. In addition, study of the arts also teaches discipline, creative thinking, problem-solving and communications skills—all of which are essential for today’s youth to succeed in the 21st Century workforce,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “These schools demonstrated through their competitive application for this grant that they are not only committed to providing their students with a well-rounded education, but also to growing and improving their arts education programs. These funds will help support that growth.”

“Congratulations to the students and teachers at each of the winning schools,” said Doug Palladini, Vans Vice President of Marketing. “In a time when schools are faced with shrinking budgets, art education is an often overlooked discipline. Supporting creative expression through art and design is very important to all of us at Vans, and the Custom Culture Grant program will inspire young art students and draw attention to the importance of high school art programs nationwide.”

Thanks to Vans for their continued support of art education in schools!

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