Reflections Art Contest offers creative outlet for students


National Parent Teacher Association

The program encourages students to explore their thoughts, feelings, and ideas while offering them a chance to discover a passion.

Now more than ever, with many activities postponed, the Reflections Arts Contest acts as an essential creative outlet for students during distance learning.

“Because of COVID-19, most regular activities have been canceled. The contest is a great activity because there’s something for everybody,” said Reflections Arts Program Chair, Mandy Gibbs. 

The Reflections Arts Contest is a nationwide competition hosted by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and hopes to support and encourage student artists.

“Art allows people to release emotions that they have built up during the pandemic,” said Shaila Mehta, a sophomore at Carlmont.

Contest participants can submit original artwork in one of six areas: dance or choreography, literature, photography, film production, music composition, or visual arts.

The winners of each school contest qualify to compete at the district level, and the winners of the district will compete at the state level, and the winners will continue to the national level.

“Participation shows colleges that when your regular activities were canceled, you found something else to use your time in a productive way. It’s especially exciting because it’s so open, and you can choose any way to express yourself,” said Gibbs.

The theme of this year’s competition, “I matter because…” seems especially relevant during the recent events, even though the theme is chosen two years in advance by students. 

“You’re taking this moment to make yourselves heard and to shout why you matter, I think this contest is perfectly timed, for the young people to say why they matter. The grownups are listening, now’s the time,” Gibbs said.

Students are required to follow the same guidelines as in previous years because they haven’t changed. However, there are a few differences during COVID-19; this year the submission format is completely digital, whereas, in previous years, the artwork was given into a contest representative in person. 

 Gibbs believes that the program will keep digital submissions as an option for future contests because it’s more accessible for all students.

Alyse Murray, a senior, won the Music Composition section last year and plans to enter again this year.

“The experience last year, as well as now, has been positive and rewarding. Students who want to submit an art form that is special to them can do so in a supportive environment that encourages creativity and inspiration,” Murray said.