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Youth program explores history with custom sneakers

CBS 2 first profiled Salus last year when his first sneaker project transformed winning student designs into custom-painted Air Jordans.

He received more than 500 submissions this school year for another round of sweet custom kicks, but with a more focused directive. Instead of drawing anything, Salus asked students to draw something that "tells us the history you care about and/or the future you want to make."

Here are 2022's winners:

• 7th grader Keetta Potts. She made a tribute to Black Lives Matter. "Purple represents my favorite color. Then the black is for Black Lives Matter then the red represents the blood of black people."

• 7th grader Antonio Lloyd. His shoe design was a shoutout to the popular animated show, "The Simpsons." "The art teacher told us to pick something that predicted the future. So I picked the Simpsons because they predicted COVID," he said.

• 8th grader Mariah Eason. Her sneaker featured cherry blossoms, and as she explains: "It is regarded as luck when you have the perfect cherry blossom flower, but people don't believe that you have a perfect cherry blossom flower – so they go on their lives every year thinking there is no perfect person, there is no perfect in life."

• 5th grader Xaria Best. She crafted her design as a message about commercial overfishing. "In the future, if all the oceans are gone, I can't be a marine biologist," she said.

Professional artist painter Anthony Amos brought all the winners' designs to life by custom-painting all the shoes. He said the sneakers took him anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete. All shoes are wearable and waterproof.

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