DEMING – Art students at Deming High School have had a bitter-sweet relationship with the national Vans Custom Culture Competition over the past three years. In each of those three years, DHS students have entered the competition among 500 schools and made the top 50 nationally to qualify for a $50,000 prize awarded to the schools’ art department. Each of those three times, the students have come up short.
Luna Robledo and Abigail Carreon are determined to change that pattern as the duo have once again put DHS in the top 50 schools for the fourth time.
The Vans Custom Culture Competition is a nationwide high school art competition that aims to inspire youth creativity and self-expression through the arts, while also making an impact in communities and schools who need additional funds. After registration ended, 500 schools were selected to design two pairs of Vans shoes focusing on two themes; “Hometown Pride,” which celebrates students’ unique culture, and “Van D(IY)oren Legacy,” which celebrates the legacy of recently deceased Vans co-founder Paul Van Doren.
Junior Abigail Carreon created the Aztec/Mayan pair of Vans for the “Hometown Pride” theme and depicts a Mayan calendars and detailed drawings in the art of Atzlan.
Senior Luna Robledo created the Dia de los Muertos pair of Vans for the “Van D(IY)oren Legacy” theme as a tribute to late co-founder, complete with candles and ofrendas (offerings) for the altar.
DHS is the only school in the top 50 to represent New Mexico. “The competition moves to the public voting stage, and we need your help to get the word out,” said Jesse Kriegel, head of the DHS Art Department. “The schools with the most votes will move to the top 5, where four runner-up schools will each receive $15,000 and the grand prize winner will receive $50,000 for their art program.”
Voting runs through May 6, 2022. To vote, people can visit https://customculture.vans.com/ to cast their vote daily for Deming High School. “We would love to have the opportunity to showcase our work and represent New Mexico in the top 5,” Kriegel said. “If we were to win this competition, one area of focus would be to give back to our community. While we may not be able to change some of the problems our communities are facing, from an art perspective we would like to focus on improving the visual aspects of our communities by using a portion of this donation to continue work in restoring the facades of our downtown with murals highlighting our unique culture.
“This donation would also be used to invest in technology and art supplies and equipment for the art education program. So please help us by going out and voting daily.”
Remember. Vote daily.
Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-546-2611 (leave a message) or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Deming Headlight: DHS art students reach top 50 in Vans Custom Culture contest