Vans kicked off 2017 in the best way possible by launching the 8th installment of Vans Custom Culture Contest this week. The annual competition gives high school students around the United States a chance to design, paint, stitch, and draw their way to the grand prize of $50,000 to benefit their school’s art program.

The company says that the purpose of the contest is to “empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets.” According to the National Endowment for the Arts, 8th through 12th grade students who receive an arts education are three times more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than those who are denied the same opportunities, which makes programs like Vans Custom Culture about more than just the footwear.

2016 Vans Custom Culture Winners – John P. Stevens High (Image via Vans)
2016 Vans Custom Culture Winning Submission (Image via Vans)

To enter the contest, an authorized representative from a high school (must be 21 or older) must visit the Vans Custom Culture website to complete the simple 4-step registration process between now and February 10. Schools will be notified instantly if they have been accepted, but there is only room for 3000 schools. Submissions are made between March 1 and April 10, then the pool is narrowed down to 50 by a voting process. After that, it’s up to the public to browse the online gallery and vote for the top 5 entries.

Vans has also added a print design component to the contest for 2017 which has its own prize potential of $5,000. For complete rules and more registration info, check out the official contest site at the links above.