VAN WERT — The Van Wert High School art department was awarded $10,000 Tuesday afternoon for placing as a runner-up in the 2019 Vans Custom Culture high school show customization contest.
High school art teacher Hailey Gross said the department does have some ideas of where to spend the funds.
“We’ve talked about it, and I’ve gotten the students’ input on it,” Gross said. “We’d like to make some improvements to our ceramics department. We would like to get some electric wheels and try out some different mediums, so I definitely think it will make a big impact on the students in our school.”
The mission of the contest every year is to inspire and empower high school artists to embrace their creativity during a time of diminishing budgets.
Seniors Max Laney and Lily Good, who both helped with the overall project, both said they could feel the crunch of the project, but it was a memorable experience developing it.
“We got [the assignment] and looked at them in shock. We were confused and excited,” Laney said. “The first assignment was to figure out what to do design-wise. Everybody got a blank shoe print out and we all went from there.”
The 500 schools to participate were selected in the first week of February, and the image submission was due April 16. The students worked on the projects during class time and also on their own time outside of school as the district’s spring break fell March 16 through 20.
“It’s really awesome to sit back and look at them and think we accomplished this as a class,” Good said. “It was really cool to work together because usually in art it’s independent projects, you don’t really get to see group projects a lot, so it was really cool to experience that.”
Gross said its a competition she’s always wanted her students to enter, and was finally able to do so in its 10th year.
“I previously taught elementary, and I thought if I ever get the chance to work with high school, I want to do this,” Gross said. “In January we applied just to see if we could be one of the 500 schools to get the opportunity to participate. Once we found out that we were, it was so exciting to get to see my students work with a company that hires artists and to have an authentic experience doing an art piece.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.