PARSONS-VANS Custom Culture

June 10th, 9:00-3:00pm
Curriculum Designer & Instructor: Niberca (Gigi) Polo


In this one-day workshop, high school students were introduced to the Parsons’ design experience, and focused on creating visual messages about a. their personal story, and b. social issues that matter.
Overarching project-goals:

  1. To showcase students’ creative talent through individual and group productions in order to emphasize the need for more art programs in schools
  2. To provide a space for sharing self-identity and aspirations; empower students to express their voice as an individual
  3. To foster a co-design—collaborative—practice
  4. To introduce students to the Parsons experience, of Learning through Design
  5. To encourage peer-to-peer learning/review
  6. To document students’ work and interactions using a Learning Portfolio Edublog as a way to demonstrate students’ abilities, and creative capacities

Learning Objectives

By the successful completion of this course, students will be able, at an introductory level, to:

1. Demonstrate a basic understanding of to the design process, and the ways in which ideas can be transformed into concepts
2. Work with mixed media to create effective visual messages
3. Understand how to create mindmaps for brainstorming and problem-solving
4. Critique/provide objective feedback

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. Custom Culture is a national high school art competition during which students use four pairs of blank Vans shoes to be customized around four themes: Art, Music, Action Sports and Local Flavor. The Top 5 Finalists will be flown to the Final Event in NYC, where a Grand Prize winner will be determined. The winner of the Grand Prize will receive $50,000 for their high school art program and a chance for their designs to be sold in Vans’ retail stores. Runners up receive $4,000 towards their schools’ art programs.

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