East Harlem high school could win $75G in Vans shoe design contest 

Students at Central Park East High School submitted the above designs in the Vans Custom Culture art competition. Photo Credit: Vans

The prize money would “revolutionize” Central Park East High School’s art program, the school said.

Students at Central Park East High School submitted the above designs in the Vans Custom Culture art competition.
Students at Central Park East High School submitted the above designs in the Vans Custom Culture art competition. Photo Credit: Sol Cinema Cafe

An East Harlem high school has a chance to win $75,000 for its art program in a shoe design competition that the public can vote in this week.

Central Park East High School is among the 50 semifinalists in Vans’ 10th annual Custom Culture competition, which started with submissions from 500 schools. CPEHS is the only New York school in the semifinals.

Art classes at each school submitted designs for two themes: “Local Flavor” and “Off the Wall.”

Anyone can vote for their favorite design on the Vans website once a day until 8 p.m. May 3. An email is required to view the submissions. 

One of the designs created by the students at CPEHS features a No. 6 train with “El Barrio” written on it. East Harlem, also known as “El Barrio,” is “a place of learning, recreation and sanctuary” for the students, the school said in a statement submitted with the designs. 

The prize money would “revolutionize” its art program, the school said.

“Our annual art budget of $800 means that we have a meager $6.40 to spend for each of the 125 students enrolled in the one art course we offer each year,” the statement said. 

If CPEHS wins, administrators plan to purchase new supplies and start a photography class, which “students have continually requested over the years.”

“Our vision for the photography class, equipment, and software that the prize money can make possible, is to engage the community through a portraiture project titled ‘We are El Barrio,’” the statement said. “In small groups, CPEHS students would photograph local business owners and workers, residents, community leaders, activists and educators. The portraits would be showcased at a fence show in front of our school’s building.”

Nicole Brown