It began as a large university classroom art challenge. It’s turned into a course riverfront cleanup job, and the relaxation of the neighborhood is welcome to pitch in this Friday and Saturday.

But to start with, the backstory.

Off and on for many years, students in visual communication classes at Henderson County Superior School’s Career & Complex Education unit have submitted entries to a higher faculty levels of competition sponsored by Vans Sneakers.

Vans is a California organization that creates canvas-topped, sticky-soled sneakers that have been well-liked with skateboarders and other folks since the 1960s. (Sean Penn wore them in the 1982 movie “Fast Situations at Ridgemont Higher.”)

The artwork level of competition, known as the Vans Significant University Custom made Tradition, “was developed to encourage and empower high college learners to embrace their creative imagination through art and design and deliver attention to diminishing arts training budgets,” according to the corporation.