What $75K could mean to New Bedford High School art…

New Bedford High School is a semi-finalist in the #VansCustomCulture shoe design contest. You can support the school by voting for their entry once a day through May 3 AT THIS LINK. Feel free to share this link with social media followers, too!

According to their website, “Vans Custom Culture was created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets. Vans believes everyone should be empowered to express themselves creatively and should be given the tools to do so.

Custom Culture is a national high school customization competition using blank Vans shoes to be customized around specific themes. New Bedford High School themes are “Local Flavor” and “Off the Wall.”

As part of the contest, the school’s were asked to prepare an Impact Statement, outlining what the $75,000 prize could bring to their school. Below is the statement filed by NBHS:


NBHS Local Flavor

Winning the $75,000 donation element of the Grand Prize would have a long lasting impact on our art department, school, and community as a whole.

We are a large urban school that boasts a very diverse population. We are always striving to help our students think creatively and critically as they develop their artistic skills. Each year, our art department serves over 1,200 students with a wide range of language and learning levels.

We have an annual art supply budget of only $5,000, which we split between five teachers. As you can imagine, this is not nearly enough to provide our students with ample opportunities to explore and express themselves through a variety of art mediums.

We have four areas that the money would impact:

  1. We would use a portion of the money to purchase additional art supplies so that students could experiment with not just the basics but beyond. Having a wide variety of new materials and techniques would encourage and empower our students to express themselves even more.
  2. We would purchase computer equipment to set up a digital art lab. Students would have the opportunity to expand their digital art skills in addition to traditional art. The computers would be used as a tool to improve their artwork, print or transfer images for artwork, or reproduce their creations. They could also use the internet to expand their learning opportunities, connect with other artists and promote their careers by creating online portfolios.
  3. Part of the money would go to expanding student knowledge of the artistic world beyond the school walls and images on the screen. This would include bringing in guest artists to discuss their careers, art making and exhibiting. We would love to have the opportunity to bring students on field trips to other galleries and museums and get that raw experience of viewing both historical and contemporary art in person.
  4. We would purchase the necessary materials to create the NBHS Whaler’s Art Gallery where we would hold ongoing student exhibits and art openings. Having a designated place in the school for our students to exhibit their artwork would benefit them, our school, and the community. Other supplies needed would include, moveable art display walls, hardware for hanging art, frames/matt board, marketing materials, opening reception consumables, etc.

Our students’ artistic achievement will be recognized and celebrated for many years to come. The gallery will be a powerful tool for them to self-reflect and have dialogue about their artwork. Most important, it will give our students a chance to explore more careers in the visual arts field.

We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Vans Custom Culture Contest. Receiving this award would truly impact the entire school and promote a positive school culture. New Bedford High School values arts education and giving our students a creative voice and identity.