mthss design students

mthss design studentsNEEDS YOUR VOTE NOW

Grand Prize Could Bring $50,000 to their School’s Art Program #RightToArt

PHOTO:  Middletown student artists and their teacher whose artistic shoe creations were recently voted in as one of the top 50finalists in the Vans Custom Culture design competition out of nearly 3,000 schools from across the nation. They are now in the running to be in the top 5 schools that will compete in Los Angeles for a $50,000 award to bring back to their school’s art department. They are pictured (left to right) front row from Evelyn Merino, Caitlin Mendina. Back row Megan Doyle, Courtney Walsh, Eric Molloy, Jesse Price, (teacher) Christen Tummillo.

MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Middletown High School South students’ shoe design entries were recently selected as semi-finalists, representing the Northeast Region in the Vans Custom Culture design competition. The winner of the final selection will bring $50,000 back to their school’s art department. Vans Custom Culture is a national high school design competition that aims to raise awareness of diminishing arts education budgets across the country and to help students express their #RightToArt. This is the second time that the young artists from Middletown South have made it to this point in the contest. In 2013 Tummillo and her students made it into the final round of the contest (top 5 in the nation), and were awarded $14,000!

mthss design local flavor


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mthss design art

mthss design action sports

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Pictured are the four semi-finalist shoes for the Vans Custom Culture design competition that Middletown art students designed. These students now have an opportunity to win up to $50,000 for their school’s art program. Top to Bottom: Local Flavor, Art, Action Sports, Music. To vote, visit and you can follow the movement on social media by using the hashtag #RightToArt.

Middletown South was selected by Vans Custom Culture as one of 50 semifinalists from nearly 3,000 registered schools in the United States. An on-line public vote is in progress from now until May11. The students have been rallying their peers and families to vote for their designs on the Vans Custom Culture website ( The school that gets the most votes for their shoes from each of the five regions will be flown to Los Angeles, California for a four day final event. The final winner will be decided by a surprise group of celebrity judges to be announced. Additionally, Vans will donate $4,000 to each of the four runners up, and retail partner, Journeys will donate $15,000 to the school with the most compelling pair of “local flavor” themed shoes.

Students were provided four pairs of blank Vans shoes and were challenged to create designs that represent the four themes of the Vans “Off The Wall” lifestyle: action sports, arts, music and local flavor. The students chose for their designs: Action Sports: a snowboarder holding a go pro; Art: a graffiti artist working; Music: a galaxy theme; the Local Flavor design was inspired by Atlantic Highlands, and the Jersey Shore.The students worked collaboratively in the creative process and all contributed to achieve their goal. Students were introduced to the project in February so that they could start thinking about, discussing and sketching their design ideas with the bulk of their work taking place during the month of March.

Middletown High School art teacher Christen Tummillo stated, “The students worked feverishly together- painting, airbrushing and working through design changes. They worked for weeks during school, after school, even coming in to school over spring break. It really was amazing to see the dedication and heart that this group put out. I couldn’t be more proud!”

The students are rallying for their #RightToArt and votes with these flyers, as well as on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook @Artistsofmhss


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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...