Unique Converse designs created by Birmingham students come to life this week with UAB Department of Art and Art History

UAB Department of Art and Art History students and faculty will help the students bring their one-of-a-kind designs to life during two workshops. The shoes will be auctioned at the Growing Kings Chucks & Tux fundraiser.

Shea Washington of P.D. Jackson Olin participates in the 2016 workshopShea Washington participates in the 2016 workshopSeven Birmingham City high school students will spend two days in design workshops this week with University of Alabama at Birmingham professional and student artists to create unique pairs of Chuck Taylor Converse shoes. 

The students’ designs were chosen from more than 60 entries for the #GKChucks Student Design Competition. They will work with UAB College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Art and Art History faculty and students to create the designs on new pairs of shoes. 

The student-designed shoes will then be auctioned off during the Growing Kings’ second annual fundraising gala Chucks & Tux event Saturday, April 29. Attendees are encouraged to wear Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers along with their formal attire to match the distinctive flair of the event’s overall theme. 

The participating high school students are Shea Washington of P.D. Jackson Olin; Kalvin Bowe, Yeldray Perkins, Ezekiel Bibb and Jeremiah Wesley of Huffman; and Abdiel Gomez and Katana Soberano of Carver. Upon completing the design boot camp, the students will receive a tablet.  

The workshops are set for 1-6 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, and Friday, March 31, in the CAS Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, Room 260.

The atmosphere in last year’s workshops was incredible, says Lauren Lake, chair of the UAB Department of Art and Art History.

“Current art and design students as well as full-time faculty worked side by side in the studio to support the design challenge winners,” Lake said. “We had all of the right people at the right time to create a perfect synergy.” 

Everyone involved has felt tremendously rewarded, she says. Working with Growing Kings on the event supports the Department of Art and Art History and the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as UAB’s core values and mission through working with and supporting the community. 

“Achieving this goal through the arts and helping local high school students exercise their creative capacities and develop higher-order thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, evaluation and ‘problem-finding,’” Lake said, “is critical to the understanding of the role that the arts play in our world. We are honored to work with the organization again this year.”  

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