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2019-2020 Deadline for Entries: October 15, 2019
*Turn in entries to the JSE Front Office*

What is Reflections?

PTA Reflections is a nationally acclaimed student recognition program to encourage artistic creativity in the classroom and at home. Students of all grades and abilities may participate and explore the arts based on the 2019-2020 theme: Look Within

Artworks are submitted first to school-level PTAs, where they are first recognized, celebrated and judged by five grade-level divisions (Primary: Preschool-Grade 2; Intermediate: Grades 3-5; Middle School: Grades 6-8; High School: Grades 9-12; Special Artist: All grades welcome). School PTAs then choose a selection of entries to be judged by local PTA units, which are then sent on to councils and then districts for consideration. The final artworks submitted to California State PTA by districts are then considered for Awards of Excellence or Awards of Merit. Award of Excellence entries then go on to represent California in the final National PTA judging round.

Reflections encourages students of all ages to:

  • Unleash creative talents and be inspired
  • Express themselves imaginatively in their artwork
  • Experience the fun and joy 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.

Only new and original works inspired by the theme: Look Within will be accepted. Enter in 1 or more of the following arts categories.

  • Dance Choreography
  • Film Production
  • Literature
  • Music Composition
  • Photography
  • Visual Arts
  • Special Arts Division

How to Enter:

Entries can be turned into the front office at any time but all entries must be received by October 15th and must follow the general rules and specific rules for that category. Your submission must include a completed and signed Student Entry Form, which includes a brief artist statement. Visit the CA PTA webpage for more information, or click the link for the Student Packet which includes the rules and student entry form.

In your artist statement, tell us about your work and what it means to you.

  • How does your work relate to the theme?
  • What is your personal connection to the theme?
  • What did you use to create your work (e.g. supplies, technology, instrumentation, props, etc.)? 
  • What/Who was your inspiration?

Judging Criteria and Tips

Volunteer arts and education experts review submissions without knowledge of the entrants’ identity. Judges look for personal interpretations on the program theme that best exemplify creativity and technical skill. 

  • Interpretation: How closely the piece relates to the theme, based on the artwork itself and the artist statement.
  • Creativity: How creative and original the piece is in its conception of the theme and its presentation.
  • Technique: The level of skill demonstrated in the basic principles/techniques of the arts area.

See past winners for examples of national award-winning works.

A Few Tips:

Read the Rules! Be sure to look at this year’s rules for creating your work. Rules do change from year to year. They spell out the sizes, lengths, and formats of each category. We cannot accept entries that don’t follow the rules.

Theme, theme, theme: The biggest factor in judging your work is how much you thought about the theme while creating your work. You could make the most beautiful painting in the show, but if it doesn’t match the theme for this year, it won’t win. Make sure your artist statement explains your thinking.

Originality: Make sure your work is your own. Please don’t copy a poster or book cover you’ve seen, or submit something that you made in an art class where everyone was making the same thing, or a dance piece that you were taught in dance class. The judges will spot that.

Dance Choreography: Be sure the video of your dance is well-framed and well-lit. It is hard to judge a dance that is hard to see. Save it in one of the approved formats.

Film Production: Although still images can be incorporated into a film piece, ALL still images must also be the work of the student. You may not use found photography or footage in your work. You CANNOT use PowerPoint to create your film. Rules dictate that the student must be the “cinematographer”, which means you must be either holding the camera, or using a tripod to set up the shot if you want to appear in the film.

Music Composition: Give us a good clear recording, in one of the approved formats. Please remember that music entries from grade 6 and up must include written sheet music. See rules for more details about what form that can take.

Photography: All photo entries must be a single picture. Do not submit a collage or collection of photos for this category. It will not be accepted.

Visual Arts and Photography: Presentation matters. Please take care when you mount your work on a stiff background. Straight edges and a nice looking mat can help make an impression on the judges. If submitting 3D art, take some good photos of it from at least three different angles and mount those photos nicely on some matboard.

Literature: You can include pictures with your written piece, but you will be judged only on the words, not on your pictures.


Awards & Prizes
Every participant is recognized for their work! Awards and prizes will vary by level.

The search is on for the 2021-22 theme!

The Reflections art can’t start without a theme, and that’s where you come in! Children and youth can submit a national theme to serve as the inspiration for Reflections artists and their original works. Students submitting the winning theme receive $100 and recognition at the National PTA Convention. Theme Search judges look for a focused and clear theme promoting PTA values that is appropriate for all grades and applicable to all arts categories. Past themes are not considered. Enter online here

For more information on the Reflections program, or if you have any questions, please contact the JSE Reflections Chair, Catie Jones, at

Questions? Please contact the JSE Reflections Chair, Catie Jones, at