Reflections Arts Recognition Program

Reflections Program 2014-15
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Reflections Program – Introduction

The Reflections Arts Recognition Program is a national arts recognition and achievement program for students. Since 1969, over 10 million students across the nation have taken part in this popular PTA program.

The excitement and enthusiasm that the program generates for students, parents, schools and communities is unmatched with the majority of California PTAs participating in the program at all PTA levels.

That's why the Reflections Program provides an excellent opportunity for students of all ages to:

  • Unleash their creative talents and be inspired
  • Express themselves imaginatively in their artwork
  • Experience the joy and fun of making art
  • Tap into critical thinking skills to create art inspired by the annual theme
  • Receive positive recognition for their original works of art

As an added bonus, in showcasing and celebrating student talent, the Reflections Program increases community awareness of the importance of the arts in education. Take a look at the 2013 California State PTA Reflections Award Winners.

How To Get Involved

Student Eligibility

Participation in the California Reflections Program is open to all students attending PTA schools that sponsor the program.

Art Areas (6)

To get involved, students submit an original piece, inspired by the annual theme, for their school's Reflections Program in any of following arts areas:


  • Dance Choreography

  • Film Production

  • Literature

  • Music Composition

  • Photography

  • Visual Arts

Divisions (5)

To allow student artworks to be recognized and judged with the appropriate developmental age and skill levels in mind, the Reflections Program is organized by school grade, offering 5 divisions:

  • Primary – Preschool-Grade 2
  • Intermediate – Grades 3-5
  • Middle/Junior – Grades 6-8
  • Senior – Grades 9-12
  • Special Artist – Non-Graded
Special Artist Division

This year a new division of the Reflections program was introduced – the Special Artist Division. This is a non-graded division limited to students whose physical, cognitive or mental health challenges meet the guidelines in the American Disabilities Act.

Qualifying students create their own artwork. But, they may receive non-artistic accommodation and assistance from an adult.

Students who qualify for the Special Artist Division may choose to enter in the traditional four grade divisions.

If this is the case, students will follow all general and arts category rules, but may submit an entry in the grade division most closely aligned to their cognitive or functional abilities. The student is then recognized and awarded as part of the general student population without regard to special needs or challenges.

Reflections Program Levels

Reflections is a nation-wide arts appreciation and recognition program for students sponsored by National PTA.

To take part, student Reflections' entries at a school are first recognized, judged and celebrated by the local PTA unit.

Some selected unit entries are then chosen to represent the PTA at the council and district PTA levels.

Student artwork submitted to California State PTA by a district PTA will be considered for an Award of Excellence and an Award of Merit.

California State PTA Reflections Awards

Each year, 30 students are recognized with a California State PTA Award of Excellence for their artwork and receive:

  • Opportunity to showcase and perform their artwork at the California State PTA convention
  • Prizes including an Award of Excellence medal, certificate and $100 Savings Bond presented on stage at convention
  • Expense paid trip for award-winning student and 1 parent/guardian to California State PTA convention

These Award of Excellence entries, in turn, represent California Sate PTA at the National level of the Reflections Program.

Student recipients of the National PTA Award of Excellence and Award of Merit are recognized at the annual National PTA convention and their artwork is featured as part of the program's traveling, national exhibit.

For more information, contact your local council or district PTA.

More Ways To Get Involved

Students' Reflections Theme Search

The Reflections Program annual theme search offers another great way for students to get involved in the Reflections Program.

Encourage your student to brainstorm and imagine a theme that will appeal to others in preschool through grade 12.

For submitting the award-winning theme, the student receives $100 and recognition at the National PTA convention in June.

To submit a student's suggestions for a Reflections Program theme, complete the entry form and send it to California State PTA by November 1.

For the Student Theme Search Entry Form and to learn more, click here.

Mary Lou Anderson Reflections Arts Enhancement Grant Program

Is your PTA planning a creative Arts Program for students? Each year, National PTA provides up to $1,000 in matching funds for PTA sponsored Arts Programs facilitating sustained involvement in the arts that target populations of at-risk students.

For the online application and to learn more, click here.

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