Fresh New Kicks: A design contest for kids and teens

By: Marenda Escobar, Marketing Specialist

Think about the shoes you wanted most as a kid. Perhaps they were a crisp new set of red Chuck Taylors. Or maybe you wanted to sport checkered Vans in your favorite color. What we wear is a form of self-expression. Even classic pieces can be styled and designed to fit individual tastes. And who doesn’t want to be original (Vans, n.d.)? This winter, kids and teens are invited to create their own designs in the Library’s 2023 Fresh New Kicks competition for a chance to win one of nine prizes. The concept is simple. Kids and teens can choose from blank shoe templates to draw and color in original designs of their choosing and submit their entries by February 10, 2023. 

The Fresh New Kicks contest has been kicking for a couple years. Like many creative endeavors, this concept came about during the pandemic. Introduced by the Library’s very own Theresa Horn and Missy Maeyens, the contest was first conducted online in the winter of 2021. With so many entries, the contest returned the next winter and submissions were displayed near the Teen Room at Main Library so all could enjoy the fresh new kicks. Mel Lutz, Youth Programming Specialist, noticed how much effort kids and teens would put into their designs. Wanting to give recognition to a broad range of artists, she created a special slideshow to recognize all finalists in the competition as well as the three winners. 

Self-expression is the inspiration for Fresh New Kicks, says Mel Lutz, who now oversees the competition. She hopes the contest will give kids and teens the opportunity to share their own unique style. Indeed, there is so much creativity that our community’s kids and teens have to offer. Last winter’s designs included a variety of colorful entries, with design concepts that included blooming cacti, desserts and fruits, a wide-eyed goldfish, math symbols, and tributes to beloved characters. In addition to promoting creativity, the contest also serves as an opportunity to connect school-aged kids to their local library. Four different schools have made class-wide submissions to Fresh New Kicks, including Dickinson Fine Arts Academy, Harrison, Monroe, and North Liberty Elementary in previous years.

This winter, kids and teens in grades 3-12 are once again encouraged to express their creativity and unique style, designing on either a high-top canvas sneaker, a lace-up combat boot, or a slip-on shoe.  The Library is excited to be awarding a total of nine prizes to the young designers in 2023. Prizes will be distributed among the three age groups (grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) and include three $50 gift cards for each age group’s winner, and six $25 gift cards for two runner ups from each age group. Fresh New Kicks submissions are accepted from January 13 through February 10, 2023. 

Fresh New Kicks 2022 Winner

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