Considering the recently-announced and all-too-real possibility of the Trump administration defunding the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, our schools' art programs are in crisis mode as they find their necessity questioned and their funding compromised. The promotion of art subjects in education has been on a steep decline in recent years, which comes as no surprise considering the cultural push towards math-and-science-centered curricula, but a new arts competition is determined to kick off 2017 with some hope.
California-based brand Vans is challenging students everywhere to create original designs for their iconic canvas shoes, the grand prize being a $50,000 donation going toward the winning school's art program. Over the past seven years, Vans has raised over $750,000 for high school art programs. As these programs' pressing need for financial support grows in the shadow of looming federal cuts, Vans' promotion of art education for our youth is a reminder that ethics and the corporate sphere don't have to be mutually exclusive. At least, not all the time.