TMHS students compete in national art contest

Five Thunder Mountain High School art students — Emily Ropp, Lynzey Culver, Veronica Buness, Liz Streeter-Zenk and Lindsay Smithberg — have been selected for a nationwide competition involving artistically decorated Vans shoes. The students’ entries were picked from more than 900 submissions nationwide, and they are now in the final top 50.


“Already that’s an honor that we made the cut,” said TMHS art teacher Jan Neimeyer, who organized the project.

To win the contest, they need Alaskan support through online voting: to vote for the Thunder Mountain team, visit

If they win, the TMHS students will bring in $50,000 for the school’s art program, and a trip to L.A. to check out the Vans headquarters and local musuems.

Online voting will continue through May 3. Only one vote per IP address is allowed, but multiple votes by one person from different computers is accepted. Voting can also take place on multiple days and can be done from iPods, iPads and cell phones as well as computers and laptops.

Thunder Mountain High School is one of 10 schools in the Northwest Region category, and is the only Alaskan finalist.

This is the third year Neimeyer has led the kids in the contest; some of the current participants have been involved in previous years, and last year the school took third place. Neimeyer said student interest has been very high, with some kids asking her about it on the first day of school.

Neimeyer said the prize money would be of great use to the school’s art program, which is suffering from recent budget cuts and does not provide adequate art supplies without individual student donations.

The shoes in this year’s contest were decorated with acrylic paint in various styles. One pair, showing a Native Alaskan-inspired design against a bright yellow background, recently won designer Veronica Buness the top prize in the Alaska School Activities Association’s All-State art show, in the textile/fiber design category. The results from the all-state art show are viewable online at Buness, a junior, created the designs in Adobe Illustrator and then transferred it onto the shoes, before painting them with acrylic paint.

A total of four pairs of shoes are in the contest; the high tops were a joint effort between two student artists.

For more information, visit


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