The Blank Canvas Program


For decades, the York family has been helping kids pursue their passion for arts and athletics by providing tools, education and financial resources. The generations before us had to fight through many ups and downs. Growing up, they taught us to be original thinkers, take responsible risks, and work hard every single day. We are committed to inspiring the next generation with these values while they continue to inspire us every day. 

With this in mind, YORK Athletics was proud to partner with our sister company GYK Antler on the launch of “Blank Canvas,” an initiative to provide young people in diverse and underserved communities with education, mentorship and access to creative career paths. 

The inaugural program engaged teens at the Boston International Newcomers Academy, a school within the Boston Public Schools system supporting immigrant English language learners, newly arrived in the U.S. To give the students a fun, approachable way to experience the professional side of creativity, York Athletics provided the perfect “blank canvas” for a sneaker design contest, their white Henry Mid Canvas sneaker to paint anyway they wanted.

The assignment we gave them was simple…. “you, do you” – design a sneaker that’s a creative expression of you. Creative mentors from GYK Antler provided resources to help the students along the way. And the results were incredible! A post-program survey showed that “Blank Canvas” led to a 46% lift in the students’ awareness of creative career paths and the advertising industry, which has long struggled with attracting diverse talent. 

While each sneaker design was truly amazing, a concept from Jean Dario, a junior from Haiti who painted a beautiful landscape of his homeland, truly stood out to us. Amazingly, this was the first time Jean Dario had painted anything. 

Jean Dario Design

Giving Tuesday Initiative:
YORK Athletics is producing a limited-edition sneaker, The Frank by Jean Dario, that brings his conceptual idea and elements of his design to life. Starting on 11/30, through 12/12, 100% of profit from sales of The Frank by Jean Dario will fund a scholarship for his continued education. 

Shop the Frank By Jean Dario

Learn More about the Blank Canvas Program

Frank By Jean Dario

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