one-on-one with emma roberts, plus sneaker art.

by ray siegel

Last night we hung out with Emma Roberts (and her mom, who Roberts told us was her "hot date for the night") at the Whitney Museum in New York. She was serving as a judge at last night's Vans Custom Culture contest, which is an art showcase of five high school finalists. Along with the other panelists, Roberts helped to select the grand prize winning high school: Lakeridge High School from Lake Oswego, Oregon was awarded $50,000 towards their school's arts program.

Roberts has been a long-time Vans lover, but her love of the arts is what drew her to the program. "I'm sure you've heard about it, but I'll give you my version: This is about bringing the arts back into schools and really supporting that. I'm from LA, and I know that a lot of the school art programs there have been cut. So for me, it's really important that kids are still given that opportunity. It's a big deal these days because there's not a lot of money or time put into art programs," Roberts explained. "I have a sister who is twelve and I see that happening with the school she goes to in New York. I think it's awesome that I get to inspire kids to be creative by sending them these shoes and letting them decorate them."

As a panelist, Roberts got to submit an inspirational Vans design of her own, which, she admits wasn't easy. "Mine are old-school Vans mixed with girly. So many people designed amazing shoes, so I felt pretty lame after seeing everyone else's. It's almost harder when you can do whatever you want. I was like, 'What am I going to make? What if it's lame?' I was really proud of my red laces!"

We didn't think her creation was lame at all: an enlarged old-school Vans graphic with red laces? Pretty awesome if you ask us. But as her biggest fans, we might be biased.

Scroll through the gallery to see some of the winning designs.