ROYERSFORD — Spring-Ford Area High School art students were given the opportunity to show off their talents in an unusual way recently.
To kick off the company’s new “C.A.N.V.A.S. Project” to support school art programs, Bearpaw Footwear donated a number of open-topped boots to the AP art class at Spring-Ford. Students put their own designs on the boots, which will be exhibited at Bearpaw’s normal circuit of trade shows.
“It’s just an unusual canvas,” said art teacher Linda Crane. “The students watch shows like ‘Project Runway’ and they see how footwear is a part of the design.”
Crane, who heads up the district’s art department, was sought out by Randy McKinley, the vice president of marketing for Bearpaw.
“He really wanted me to tackle it,” Crane said.
McKinley has a daughter currently at Spring-Ford and drives her to school along with another student.
While driving in one day, the student told McKinley about the art program and the fact that their art enrichment club no longer gets funds from the district.
“Being an art guy when I grew up, I’m sensitive to that,” McKinley said.
McKinley contacted Crane with the idea of helping out.
“What if I gave you guys boots to work with?” he said.
Bearpaw produces boots similar to Uggs, which they call their “Emma” model. The wide, plain sides enabled students to put various creations or patterns on the footwear.
“Some of them were inspired by impressionist artists, some of them did drawings, their favorite teams, graphic design-type images,” Crane said.
One boot set was inspired by the sketchings of Leonardo Da Vinci.
“Their work was really, I think, creative,” Crane said.
When the students finished their project and everything was graded, McKinley and Crane picked out the best boots for McKinley to take with him to the trade shows.
“All our retail partners and media get to see them,” McKinley said.
Once McKinley is finished, the boot designs will be a part of Spring-Ford’s annual art show in the spring and auctioned off. The proceeds from the auction will benefit the art enrichment club, which has completed projects such as the musical mural in the high school’s music hallway.
Other than helping out the Spring-Ford art program, McKinley said the project might push some students toward fields they hadn’t thought of before.
“Who’s to say these art kids aren’t the next Air Jordan designers?” he said.