Can I submit more than one project?

Absolutely! Students may submit as many projects as they like, in as many arts categories as they like.

Can I submit a project with a partner or team?

No. Each entry must be the original work of one student only. An adult may not alter the creative integrity of a student's work. Because the program is designed to encourage and recognize each student's individual creativity, help from an adult or collaboration with other students is not allowed except in the Special Artist Division. Other individuals may appear in or perform a student's work, but the work itself must be the creative product of one student only. Only one student may be recognized as the award recipient for each entry. See specific arts category rules and special artist division rules for details.

Can my parents help with my project?

See answer to question above.

Do I have to write an "artist's statement"?

Yes. This is required for each entry. Qualifying entries must include a project title and artist statement. The artist statement communicates what inspired the work, how it relates to the theme, and the content of the work. The statement must include at least 10 words and not exceed 100 words.

What is the judging criteria for projects advancing to the next level?

1) Interpretation - How closely the piece relates to the theme, based on the artwork itself and the artist statement. (The artist statement -- which is part of the Entry Form -- is very important!)

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.

Reflections 2023-2024: "I am Hopeful Because..."

2023 -2024 Reflections Theme Announced

The Reflections Program was established in 1969 by the National PTA. Since that time, more than 10 million students have participated in this annual program.

The PTA Reflections Program is an arts recognition and achievement program for students. A theme is given and students can submit work in any of the six categories.  Participation and appreciation for the arts is the Reflections Program's goal. Although the Reflections Program follows a "contest" format, winning is not the emphasis.  

Young artists may submit an entry in any of the six arts areas listed below. There also is a special artist division option for students with disabilities to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate in the program. Only original works of art are accepted. It does not matter whether an entry created for the Reflections Program has been created as a classroom assignment or independently at home. Only individual, original works of art are accepted. No group projects are allowed. Once judged at the local level, the winners go on to the council and/or district judging. Those winners go to the Illinois PTA to receive recognition.   

The six arts areas for each category are listed below. 

  • Dance Choreography 
  • Film/Video Production 
  • Literature 
  • Musical Composition 
  • Photography 
  • Visual Arts

In addition, we have a Special Artist category. This is an option for students with disabilities who receive services under IDEA or Section 504.

Please email Anne Zimmer, PTA Council Reflection Chair, at 


  • All D205 student entries are due to the front office of the artist's school no later than Friday, November 3rd, 2023.
  • Local D205 Council winners advancing to Regional are announced the third week in November.
  • Regionals winners advancing to State are announced the third week in December.
  • State winners advancing to National are announced the second week in March.
  • National results are published the second week of May. Artwork is returned, and the State and National certificates and medals should be delivered to the students prior to the last day of school for distribution.

2023-2024 RULES

Each project submission must include an official student entry form specific to the artist's schools. The entry form can be downloaded here (ENGLISH) (SPANISH). Please fill out one student entry form for each entry, and turn it in along with your project. And remember, each entry must include the Artist Statement relating their entry back to the theme!

Click HERE for the Reflection Rules in Brief and the expanded category guidelines are linked below.  Please carefully read the rules for specific categories. Failure to submit a proper entry form or follow specific arts category rules could disqualify a project.