Submitted by Margot Edwards
Vans, the original action sports footwear and apparel brand, and Berklee College of Music, the world’s leading college of contemporary music, are proud to announce the founding of the Vans Berklee Off The Wall Scholarship – a four-year award covering full tuition, room and board. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a talented musician from the U.S. This is the first educational initiative of its kind for Vans, a brand rich in music culture that supports creative musicians and has deep roots in genres ranging from punk and metal to indie rock and hip hop.
At Vans, Off The Wall is a state of mind, thinking differently and embracing people who love art, music, action sports and/or street culture. The ideal candidate for the Vans Berklee Scholarship will demonstrate the Off The Wall spirit via their personal self-expression through music. The scholarship will be awarded to a musician whose focus and talent represents Vans’ dedication to musical progression and evolution.
“Berklee awarded its first bachelor of music degrees in 1966, the year Vans was founded. Throughout the decades, Vans and Berklee have both celebrated the freedom and individuality that comes from creative expression, making it a perfect partnership,” said President of Vans Kevin Bailey. “Vans’ history has been built alongside athletes, artists, designers, and musicians – as each has made Vans part of the canvas of their lives. That is something we look for in all of our brand relationships. We are looking forward to a long relationship together embracing and elevating students’ creativity.”
Not only will the Vans Berklee Scholar be able to focus on pursuing their music education without financial concerns, they will be immersed in Vans culture, outfitted with a Vans themed dorm room and laptop. The recipient will also have opportunity to showcase their musical talents during events and venues like House of Vans and TheVans Warped Tour.
The scholarship recipient isn’t the only beneficiary of the partnership. Vans is committed to providing additional opportunities for Berklee students, including performances at House of Vans locations and Vans’ Open Mic Nights at Vans venues across the country. Vans Vinyl will also collaborate with Berklee’s student-run label Heavy Rotation Records to produce and distribute a compilation of student music. Upper classmen will also have the chance to participate in a music related summer internship at Vans.
“Here you find two institutions with like-minded philosophies: freedom of self-expression through creativity,” said Jeffrey Dorenfeld, Berklee professor of music business/management and advisor to Heavy Rotation Records, who spearheaded the partnership with Vans. “For Vans it can be demonstrated on a skateboard, a bike or on stage. At Berklee, creativity is found in the classroom, on stage, in a studio or behind a computer. Together we hope to enable students to live out their dreams.”
All applicants will be considered for a host of other scholarships that Berklee awards annually as part of the Berklee World Tour. Berklee’s unique audition and interview process is designed to uncover the applicant’s musical strengths and academic goals while helping assess their aptitude and ability to succeed in the college’s dynamic environment. Each year, Berklee visits more than 40 cities around the world in search of talented instrumentalists and vocalists—an effort that is supported with $30 million in scholarship funds available to prospective and continuing students.
Citizens and residents of the U.S. are eligible to be considered for the Vans Berklee Scholarship. Applicants who qualify, based on merit and financial need, will be nominated for the Vans Scholarship by Berklee’s scholarship committee. Selection of the Vans Berklee Off the Wall Scholar will be announced in May each year.
The first Vans Berklee Off The Wall Scholar will begin at the college in the fall of 2014. Recipients will be chosen through Berklee’s auditions and interviews held in cities around the world. Upcoming audition sites can be found at Berklee.edu/admissions, where you’ll find a full scheduled listing.