By George Fox
CBS Detroit Web Producer
HOWELL (WWJ) -- Paris, Milan, New York and now Howell could be added to the list of fashion footwear sources. That is if the votes turn out in favor of local high school students in the Vans Custom Culture Art Competition.
The four themes of this year's competition are art, music, local flavor and action sports.
Selected in the top 50 in a national search, four students used a 3-D printer pen to create unique mesh patterns traced from the shape of the original shoes and then attached them back to the soles.
The public is encouraged to vote on the semi-finalists once per day online through May 10.
"It speaks so much to the talent of our students and instructors to be a semi-finalist and to be the only selected school in Michigan," said Howell High School Director of Public Relations Thomas Gould on how they feel to be in the top 50.
Once expensive 3-D printers are used to create rapid prototypes and shapes not feasible with normal production methods. These tools only recently became an affordable option for schools. "We're committed to providing access to these new technologies," said Gould.
The recognition is significant according to a Howell High Schools announcement where John Mozdzierz, Howell High School digital imaging instructor said, "The contest is open to 3,000 schools from across the country, so earning a spot in the top 50 designs truly speaks to the talent of our students. I hope that our community will take a few seconds to vote for our students' designs and help Howell make it into the top 5."
$50,000 in prize money is appealing for the district and while they're waiting to plan how it will be spent -- Gould said, "It would be re-invested into the art program. Our teachers would put it to good use."
The Vans Custom Culture Art Competition is a national high school customization competition using blank Vans shoes to be customized around specific themes. The competition 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.
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