Pictured is Reflections founder Mary Lou Andersen.

Reflections celebrates 50 years with program in Winona


Since 1969, the PTA Reflections art program has encouraged students across the nation and in American schools overseas to explore their creativity. Creating art is a valuable learning experience. Artistic exploration and expression enhance and develop many skills. When students express themselves through literature, pictures, music, photography, and other art forms, they grow intellectually.

“For 50 years, the National PTA Reflections program has helped millions of students explore their thoughts, feelings and ideas; develop artistic literacy; increase their confidence; and find a love for learning that helps them succeed in school and in life,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “National PTA remains committed to the importance of the arts. It is a top priority of our association to ensure all children have access to arts programs and classes.”

Each year, the National PTA Reflections program encourages students of all ages to create and submit original works of art in the medium of their choice that reflect on the annual theme. Submissions are reviewed by visual, literary and performing arts experts, and students are recognized for their artistic ingenuity in bringing the theme to life.

Students in preschool through high school are invited to create and submit works of art in the areas of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography, and the visual arts. In the 2018-2019 school year, Reflections students share their artistic interpretations on the theme “Heroes Around Me.” The theme changes yearly, and it is important for the student artwork to reflect upon the theme and interpret it into their artwork.

This year, the 50th annual Minnesota PTA Reflections program state winners reception is being held in Winona at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts on Vila Street on Saturday, May 18, between 1:30 and 3.

Lori Ortega, Minnesota state Reflections chair who has been involved in Minnesota Reflections for 15 years, said, “It is a joy to work with schools and their students and families that love the Reflections contest. It is a wonderful cultural arts program that has been a Winona tradition for many years.”

Winona-area PTAs have participated for many years, along with schools from across the state. Winners chosen at the local level are prepared and forwarded on to state competition in St. Paul, Minn., where they compete against entries from all over the state. Outstanding interpretation winners advance to the national PTA competition in Washington, D.C.


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