The 2015-16 National PTA Reflections program has ended again and this year the theme was “Let Your Imagination Fly”.
According to their website, the National PTA Reflections program is an arts program that encourages students to explore new and different facets of their personality and creativity. The Program has inspired millions of students to create original work, showcasing their thoughts and emotions.
“Reflections definitely allows artists to evolve since it’s held annually. They can try to improve and advance further in the competition each year. The new theme each year also helps artists consider and explore topics they normally wouldn’t think of,” senior Wendy Zhang said. “The contest provides the opportunity to win awards at the local, state and national level, so the recognition is a plus. However, I think the main benefit comes from the opportunity to examine fresh ideas and develop as an artist. I regret not entering the contest more, because I think participating annually makes the experience more valuable.”
The structure of the annual competition is students in grades Pre-K through 12 are given a theme to “bring to life” using dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts. Local PTAs are responsible for initial judging and then local winning entries advance to the State PTA round.
Top entries from Missouri state PTA Reflections contest advance to national PTA for the final round of judging. National PTA awards are announced each May, according to RBHS PTSA Reflections Co-Chair, Deb Linneman.
“Students must fill out an Artist Statement which describes how their artwork relates the specific theme for that year. This is a very theme-based competition and the theme for 2015-16 is ‘Let Your Imagination Fly’,” Linneman said. “Our students did an outstanding job at the state level last year and we were very proud.”
The contest not only offers rewards and recognition, but a time for artists to develop their skill. Junior Dzung Nguyen is participating in the art contest this year for the first time and feels that the contest has helped her see past a shallow view of her own art.
“The process of creating my acrylic painting helped me improve my acrylic techniques and changed my thoughts on the medium. At first, I thought that acrylic was an inexpensive medium that artists use if they don’t have access to more advanced medium, such as oil paint,” Nguyen said. “After working with acrylic, I realized that it can be just as effective in producing an amazing piece of artwork as oil paint, as long as the artist puts effort and heart into the creating process.”
Nguyen believes the competition can help her improve not just with the practice it offers but the feedback it offers to all young artists participating.
“I have never participated in the PTA Reflections before. But, aside from helping me improve as an artist, the PTA Reflection program is an opportunity for me as a young artist to present my artworks to professional judges and see where I stand among my peers in terms of artistic talent and creativity,” Nguyen said. ”The vast variety of fine art categories that participants can choose from is my most favorite part of this contest. From filmmaking to dancing to painting and drawing, students are encouraged to enter as many categories as they desire.”