“As we live our purpose to enable creative expression, we are proud to partner with each artist to uplift and amplify their voices during Black History Month and beyond,” says Carly Gomez, vice president, marketing, the Americas, Vans.
This initiative showcases four creatives:
- Rewina Beshue, whose work includes multimedia, painting, printmaking and graphic design;
- Sydney G. James, a muralist and fine artist who is a leading creative voice in southeast Michigan;
- Chris Martin, an artist that explores the African Diaspora and spotlights the history of The South through multiple disciplines; and
- Tony Whlgn, a visual artist who has worked with Big K.R.I.T. Joey Badass, Marc Ecko and NYC’s KITH. He is known for creating his art on unconventional mediums.
“As creatives, the least we can do is speak our truth and hope it resonates and uplifts others,” says Martin.
Each week in February, Vans.com will feature a different artist and delve into their story and work. With this, Vans will release their Vans custom design that embodies their styles and spirits.
“The design is special because, for me, it goes way beyond a shoe,” says James. “It brings my life as an artist full circle. As a child artist, like many young artists, and into adulthood, I’ve always drawn and painted on clothes, walls and shoes. My parents granted me such liberties. And now, as I am soon to become a 42-year-old Black woman, I have created art in all three mediums professionally and MY way. There’s something poetic and encouraging in that.”
Each artist will be featured in store windows of all Vans stores across the U.S. and Canada for the entire month of February, as well as on Vans.com and Vans social media accounts.
In addition, Vans will also be donating $40,000 to the Black Arts Future Fund. The donation will fund granting efforts to small and community-based Black arts organizations across the country. Vans fans can also support Black Art Futures Fund by donating their Vans Family points up to $25,000 within the U.S.
“It brings me absolute joy to use my art to uplift Black art communities,” says Beshue.
“It is important to use my platform to amplify positivity in Black communities through art and creativity.”
Vans has also reintroduced its “Foot the Bill” program to support small businesses that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted. In conjunction with Black History Month, Vans will spotlight three Black-owned businesses each week as part of directing consumers to Black-owned businesses throughout the U.S.
“My hope is for people to unlearn what they’ve been taught, to do the work of the inner and outer self and receive the intergenerational messages of love, peace and happiness,” says Whlgn.
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