When last we visited with teen artist Joelle Lee in this space nearly two years ago, it was at the Kids Inc. Business Showcase at Windward Mall, and I had commissioned her to draw a caricature of me.
I haven’t changed my Facebook and Twitter profile pics ever since.
Joelle’s graduating from Moanalua High School in a few weeks, which makes me feel pretty old. (Also making me feel old recently: the fact that Cel Shaded ended five years ago. But I digress.) One of her final school projects, though, is pretty cool: She’s part of the Moanalua team that’s among the semifinalists in the annual Vans Custom Culture shoe design competition. According to the contest 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. Once your school’s designs are completed, they go through a voting process to narrow down our top 50 entries. Then, it’s up to your school and classmates to garner votes from the public to choose our top 5 that go on to compete in our final event.
The top vote-getters in each of five regions — Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and California, which I guess has enough entries to support itself as a region in its own right — advance to the finals in Los Angeles, and the winning team will get $50,000 for its school’s art program.
Here’s Joelle’s contribution to the competition, inspired by the theme of “Music.”
And here are the other shoe designs. Clockwise from top on the top photo are team members’ interpretations of the themes of “Local Culture,” “Action Sports” and “Art.”
The Moanalua team’s in the Southwest region, and it’s going up against a school in Arizona, a school in Oklahoma and about a hundred kajillion schools in Texas. OK, there are only seven, but it certainly looks intimidating, particularly when you consider nine states comprise the Southwest region (better luck next year, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah!). In any case, the last time I checked, Texas had a loooooooot more people than we do, so it might be a bit of an uphill battle. But hey, we got Jasmine Trias pretty far into her American Idol season back in the day, so that probably counts for something, right?
Voting is open now at sites.vans.com/customculture. You have until 2 p.m. May 11 to vote and you can vote once per day until then, so let’s make a difference, people.