Reflections Arts Program Kicks off in Stillwater Schools

Story and images provided by Anu Sukhdial

Pablo Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he (she) grows up.” The National PTA Reflections Arts in Education program was designed to help children unleash their latent artistic potential and to give them confidence to imagine and create their own original works of art. In 1969, the program debuted with the theme, “Reflections: Children and Youth Mirror Their World” and 254 literature, music, and visual arts entries from 31 states were submitted as part of the competition. Over the years, the program has grown tremendously; today, nearly 300,000 students across the U.S. participate in the annual arts-in-education competition.

The theme for the 2018-2019 Reflections program is “Heroes Around Me.”  Stillwater public school students from preschool through 12th grade are encouraged to paint, draw, create 3-D art, write, dance, compose their own music, take photographs, and/or make home movies to submit for the program. Winning entries are judged based on creativity and technique, but most importantly, on how well the student has used his/her artistic vision to portray and interpret this year’s specific theme. All judging is done on a blind basis by OSU faculty, graduate students, and distinguished professionals within the community (e.g. artists, musicians, photographers) who have specific background/expertise in the particular art category being judged. City-wide winners will advance to the state competition early next year, and those winners will advance for a final, national round of competition in March/April 2019. Last year, Stillwater Public Schools had a great showing, with 20 state winners, and one national winner, Skyline Elementary student Noah Taylor, the only Oklahoma student to be recognized at the national level last year.

Skyline Elementary student Noah Taylor was the only Oklahoma student to be recognized at the national level of the Reflections competition last year.

To encourage even greater participation in the program, and to make it easier for students to work on and complete their entries on time, Stillwater PTA Council (the organizer of the city-wide Reflections program), in conjunction with Prairie Arts downtown, will be conducting two Saturday morning workshops (on 9/29 and 10/13, 10:30am-12:30pm), where students can learn more about the various Reflections arts categories, and get advice from experienced professionals so they can jumpstart the process of creating/completing their Reflections submissions.  Students are requested to register in advance for the complimentary workshops at

Reflections will officially kick off at the public schools (only schools with a PTA organization are eligible) in early to mid September, and will continue through the month of October (National Arts and Humanities month).  All student entries will be due to their local school office by Friday, November 2nd.

Anu Sukhdial is the city-wide chair for the PTA Reflections program.  Please contact her at, and/or your school-specific Reflections chair, for additional details.