VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A Frank W. Cox High School senior is competing in a national art contest that could earn a substantial monetary prize for the art department.
The custom design contest is through Vans, the popular shoe brand.
Maria Ntaflou created a watercolor painting with a Coastal Virginia theme. Her design was chosen to move forward to the next step in the competition. She will now paint the design on a white pair of their shoes.
Ntaflou is from Greece. She is here because her father works with NATO. When asked about her design, she said the beach provided natural inspiration.
“I was thinking about the first impressions that I got when I first came here two summers ago and like, the things that impressed me the most, like the sunsets and the sea and landmarks like the Neptune statue,” explained Ntaflou.
The Cox senior is currently competing against 249 others. The grand prize is $50,000 for the school’s art department.
Jessica Van Veenhuyzen is the lead art teacher at Cox High School. She said she is grateful that companies like Vans provide students a chance to be creative.
“Art during this time of COVID has been such a therapy for the students, and so I really appreciate Vans giving us the opportunity to work on something like this for the students. It’s just been an outlet in these crazy times when they’re sitting at home by themselves. To have something creative to work on is so meaningful,” Van Veenhuyzen said.
Entries will be narrowed down to 50, and eventually, a first-place winner. Four runners-up will receive $15,000 for their school.
Van Veenhuyzen said if given the chance, she would love to purchase more technology to expand digital art opportunities for the students.
Ntaflou says after she graduates, she plans to return to Greece to pursue a career in engineering. She hopes she’ll be able to use her artistic talents in a different way. She said she would love to be able to win a monetary prize in order to help future art students.
“I’d be very happy just to see people taking advantage of that money, and I don’t care if I get any recognition. I’d be very happy for my classmates.”
For more information on the Vans contest, click here.