William Byrd High School art students have been selected as one of the top 50 finalists of the VANS Custom Culture Contest and a chance to win $50,000 for the school. WBHS is the only school in Virginia to make Top 50!
William Byrd High School art students Morgan Kelly, Kamryn Brown, Joseph Spickard, Julie Sattah, Samantha Shrader, Lilly Kroese, McKenna Paradis, Emma Gordon, Briar Boksa, and Grace Owen are among the TOP 50 finalists.
The students created custom VANS highlighting the greater Roanoke Valley (including Bedford) as well as a tribute to VANS co-founder Paul Van Doren.
Public online voting is underway and will continue through May 6 at https://customculture.vans.com. Anyone can vote once per day.
- Go to https://customculture.vans.com/
- Click: VOTE HERE
- Type in your email and go to William Byrd High School.
- Cast your vote—once every day!
Vans Impact Statement—How the funds would be used at Byrd
William Byrd High School serves the small community of Vinton, Virginia and boasts of numerous sports, academic, and arts programs for its 1200-plus students in grades 9 through 12. Recently, large investments have been made into the athletic programs—a turf field, new equipment—even the building is under a remodel, yet it always seems the arts are left behind. The Vans Donation would help bridge that gap in funding by providing opportunities for artistic creation and display for both the school and the community of Vinton.
The plan for the award is three-fold. First to increase participation in the types of art that can be created, as well as first-hand experiences for students beyond the classroom. Second, a means to display student work about campus and through town so that others can see and appreciate the amazing work our students are doing. Third, we hope to continue to support non-profits and the community through donations of work.
William Byrd Arts is unable to collect fees from its students, so all of the consumable (pastels, clay, canvases, etc.) are purchased with the small stipend supplied by the school system. For arts programs with small numbers, the funding is more than adequate, but for the thriving program here at William Byrd, the funding barely provides the basics. Utilizing some of the prize funds to purchase those consumables as well as (maybe) some larger equipment, would go a long way to support step two and three of the Plan.
Step two is to create display spaces within the school and community at large. As the education system focuses more on math and science, the representation of the arts becomes paramount. Students and teachers need to have access to student work, to see the beauty created, and even challenged by the ideas presented in art. Part of the funds would go to constructing display areas that would allow for rotating exhibits and display spaces within the school and parts of the community, bringing art to the masses.
Step three is something that we already participate in, and that is using our art to support non-profits. The local SPCA gets paintings and other pieces of art contributed to them that is then auctioned off to raise funds. We have been an active participant in this fund raiser, donating over 40 paintings and helping to raise funds for this program. We would like to use some of the award money to continue to support the efforts of the SPCA by expanding how many paintings we can donate.
These are the preliminary ideas we have but are always open to opportunities and surprise inspiration that may strike as we seek to continue to spread the love of art and help students discover their talents and abilities.