2018-19 Reflections Arts Contest: Heroes Around Me

Reflections is a National PTA arts competition that provides an opportunity for students to use their creative talents. Next year’s theme is “Heroes Around Me”

Reflections takes original student submissions, inspired by the theme, in the area of visual art, photography, literature, music composition, film and dance choreography. There is also an optional “special artist” category for students who have a disability, qualifying under the ADA.

Reflections starts at the local level. Local PTSAs organize a contest at their schools and select which works to advance to the city level. Works are then further judged with opportunities for advancement to state and national levels.

Step-by-Step guide to running your Reflections program.

  1. Register your PTA: (Click on “Register my PTA”)
    You may need to look up your National PTA number.
  2. Advertise the program in your PTA communications. National PTA has graphics you can use
  3. Find judges. This can be anyone from the community! Seattle Council is also looking for judges, so let us know if you know someone interested in judging at the Council level!
  4. Collect art. Make an event out of it, or piggyback on existing school and PTA events to encourage entries.
  5. Recognize your artists. 
    Seattle Council will accept 12 pieces or 20% of total student entries (whichever is greater) from each school PLUS 4 additional Special Artist entries.
     If less than 12 students participate, you can choose to recognize participants without ranking, judging, etc. There’s no mandate for how you choose to run your own program. You can offer ribbons, medals, or even just print certificates. (Seattle Council will be giving ribbons and certificates.) 

  6. Submit art to Seattle Council  More details to come on when and where to bring your school’s entries. 
  7. Bonus: Volunteer to help Seattle Council with the exhibit. We’ll need help mounting all of the artwork, hosting the artists’ reception and taking all of the artwork down. Sign-ups will go out soon.
  8. Also Bonus:If you’re concerned about equity (aren’t we all), a good idea might be to have an after school Reflections workshop (early release Wednesday would be a good time!). Provide art supplies and perhaps a recording device or two for students who might want to make up a dance or sing a song. If you don’t have money in your budget for supplies, apply for a SCPTSA grant! We have about 8 available, and only one officially turned in so far. Download an application today.
  9. Finally: promote and attend the exhibit at the Armory! 

One last hint: we will all get the most entries for visual arts, with literature and photography about tied for second most entries. So visual arts entries will cost the most to make (with materials) and will have the largest competitive base. Encourage students to branch out! Make it fun! Only one student can be the creator, but that student can make a group dance piece, music quartet, etc! We only got a handful of film entries last year, and creating a film can cost next to nothing. The creativity in making a film is endless, and the editing software available on phones is better than anything we had when we were kids!



Refer to the sidebar to download rules for your category. There are big changes from last year! A few notables: 

  • The accepted size for photography is much smaller this year. 
  • DVD or USB drives are accepted for dance, film and music. We highly recommend using USB only. We’ve seen too many read errors with DVD’s and would hate for an entry to be disqualified because of it. 
  • We have added the ability to accept 3-D art!! Each entry will be submitted in the form of three photographs. This is new for all of us this year — there will be questions. We’ll work out the kinks together. 
  • Wrapping art is not necessarily required for submission to WA State. It’s been highly recommended (complete with horror stories of artwork getting damaged in transit), but it’s also cost prohibitive and can be a pain to do. We recommend wrapping delicate art, but will be lenient on accepting unwrapped artwork. 


SCPTSA has grant funds available for Reflections programs!  

Apply for grant funds for your school. Use the money for art supplies and/or awards. An idea for hosting a Reflections PTA activity is to schedule “think tanks” after school on early-release Wednesdays. Provide art supplies (with grant funds) and start the time with a group brainstorming session on what the theme – “Within Reach” – could mean to different people. Let students work on their own. No need for adult volunteers to be artists themselves. The students are the artists! Host 2-3 of them to allow students time to create a rough draft and then a final copy.  

For help getting started at your school, contact Council Reflections Chair Lindsay Yost

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