Look Within: Inspiring Students’ Creativity in the Arts

Story by Anu Sukhdial

PTA Reflections, a nationwide arts-in-education program, kicked off in September in the Stillwater Public Schools.  The competition is open to Pre-K through 12th-grade students in schools that have an eligible PTA. The competition encourages students to submit original, creative works in six major arts categories: visual arts, dance choreography, photography, music composition, literature/creative writing, and film/video production.  Over 300,000 students participate annually across the US in the Reflections program, and several thousand across the state of Oklahoma. Last year, nearly 160 students in the Stillwater Public Schools participated in the program, with several advancing to win at state and national levels.  Every year, the National PTA picks a theme to inspire students for their creative projects; the theme for this year is “Look Within.” Student submissions are due to their school front office no later than October 31st, 2019. 

SPS students at 2018 Reflections Awards Assembly

Throughout October, the Stillwater PTA Council, who oversees the district-wide program, is partnering with the Stillwater Public Library, Prairie Arts Center, and StillyArts to offer several complimentary workshops.  The goal of the workshops is to help students learn more about the various arts categories, brainstorm ideas, and kick start the creative process of developing works/projects to enter in the competition.

Luke Cheatwood, a recent Stillwater High School graduate and award-winning filmmaker, will be giving a talk on filmmaking at the Stillwater Public Library on Saturday, October 12th from 1-2:30 p.m.  His presentation, “Dream Bigger:  An Introduction to Filmmaking” will take students and interested adults into the world of making short films – from how to generate ideas and develop a first draft screenplay, to the art of taking and editing footage for the final film or video.

Families enjoying the 2018 Reflections art gallery at SHS Performing Arts Center

Prairie Arts Center will hold two workshops on Saturday, October 5th – Visual Arts (10-11:30 a.m.) and Photography (1-2:30 pm).  Finally, StillyArts, a local art/dance/drama studio, will offer a Bollywood dance/drama workshop on Friday, October 11th from 6:45-8pm. 

To register for these workshops, please directly contact the Stillwater Public Library at (405) 372-3633 or library.stillwater.org/register_for_programs.php; Prairie Arts Center at (405) 744-1535 or artscenter.okstate.edu/activities/563-reflections-workshops and StillyArts at (405) 547-6401 or stillyarts.com/ptareflectionsworkshop2019.

About the authorAnu Sukhdial is the City-wide chair for the 2019-2020 PTA Reflections program and can be reached at anu.sukhdial@gmail.com.