In This Section

Join PTA For Your Child

Notes from the Backpack Podcast

Reflections Arts Program

National PTA Reflections Awards

Each year, students in Pre-K through Grade 12 are invited to create and submit original works of art in the areas of Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography and Visual Arts. Based on State PTA rules and guidelines, these works of art may be submitted for state and national level awards and recognition opportunities.


Selection Criteria

Student entries submitted to the national level go through two rounds of review by esteemed arts professionals across the country. During the evaluation process, judges will consider the following criteria:

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

Judges strongly consider the interpretation of the Reflections theme during the evaluation process. It is suggested that students give their submissions a title that stands out and describes how the piece relates to the student’s personal interpretation of the theme. The following guiding questions can be useful when developing a title and artist statement: 

Arts Categories

Dance Choreography

Dance Choreography


Film Production




Music Composition



Visual Arts

Visual Arts

  • 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?

State PTAs are able, but not required, to submit 30 entries in total to the national level for review - one entry per arts category, per division. Of the national-level submissions, over 200 student Reflections participants will receive the following awards from National PTA:

  • Merit Award: Bronze Medal; Certificate of Merit; Work featured in the traveling exhibition
  • Award of Excellence: $200 Young Artist Scholarship; Silver Medal; Certificate of Excellence; Work featured in the traveling exhibition
  • Outstanding Interpretation Award: $800 Young Artist Scholarship; Gold Medal; Certificate of Outstanding Interpretation; Work featured in the traveling exhibition; $200 Prize for Local PTA Unit

National PTA celebrates the national Reflections winners and their artwork starting May 1 through the following calendar year. We feature our Outstanding Interpretation winners during National PTA’s Convention in June and select featured artists at the Reflections Student Arts Showcase in January. 

Congratulations to the 2020-2021 I Matter Because… Reflections Winners 

National PTA received nearly 900 student entries from 44 state PTA congresses in all the available arts categories. Of those submissions, we are thrilled to award over 200 student artists on the national level. Congratulations to all of the 2020-2021 I Matter Because…National PTA Reflections winners and our 7 Outstanding Interpretation awardees! Share your celebrations with this blogpost and press release and by using #PTAReflections.

Virtual Exhibit: 2020-2021 I Matter Because... Awardees

Check out the virtual exhibit showcasing the National Reflections awardees for the 2020-2021 Reflections year, I Matter Because....  

Visual Arts

Visual Arts Awardees

Film Production 

Film Production Awardees


Literature Awardees

Music Composition

Music Composition Awardees

Dance Choreography

Dance Choreography Awardees


Photography Awardees

Reflections Winner Videos

Check out our awards celebration from the 2021 National PTA Convention where we celebrated all of our 2020-2021 national Reflections winners and highlighted the work of our 7 Outstanding Interpretation Winners.

Annual Theme Search Contest

Students can participate in the Annual Theme Search Contest according to their State PTA Reflections Program guidelines. Through our annual search process, one winning student's theme will inspire the hundreds of thousands of student artists that participate in the Reflections program. The winning student will also receive a $100 award and national recognition. View the past 50+ years of winning themes.

2020-2021 Theme

The 2020-2021 Reflections theme is I Matter Because... Thanks to Rylee Stier, from Burney Elementary School PTA in Burney, California, for her winning submission!

2021-2022 Theme

The 2021-2022 Reflections theme is I Will Change the World By… submitted by Lydia Keel from Spanish Fork Junior High School PTSA in Utah. Congratulations, Lydia!

2022-2023 Theme

Congratulations to the most recent winner of the Annual Theme Search Contest, Jason Yevin, from Salk/Macarthur PTSA in New York. We thank Jason and New York State PTA for the 2022-2023 Reflections theme: Show Your Voice!

We can’t wait to see how these student-created themes will inspire Reflections artwork in the years ahead!

Annual Mary Lou Anderson Reflections Arts Enhancement Grant   

Congratulations to the 2021 Mary Lou Anderson Reflections Arts Enhancement Grantees:

  • Jayne Ann Miller Elementary PTA in Texas
  • Hazelwood PTA in Washington

To learn more about this opportunity, visit our ArtsEd Resources.

Encourage and celebrate student participation in arts education.

Find tools to run your Local PTA's Reflections program.

Apply for a grant and use our resources to advocate for arts education.