Art from Beverly Hills Students Showcased at National PTA Reflections Contest

Horace Mann Elementary and Beverly Vista Middle School students contributed a diverse array of artistic expressions for the National PTA Reflections contest this year. Volunteer judges, including the Courier, reviewed the submissions on Nov. 3 at the Beverly Hills Public Library “Little Theatre” Room. Beverly Hills resident and Reflections Chair Kim Becker 

told the Courier that of the six categories, there were more submissions for dance choreography, film production, and music composition than previous years. The other categories included free standing visual arts, photography, and literature submissions. This year’s theme was “Look Within.” 

Becker, who majored in art, said, “I love seeing the arts encouraged.” 

Several noteworthy art entries stood out this year. Highlights included a book entry complete with words and illustrations created by the artist; a film documentary; and even a three dimensional art piece that opened up to reveal more artwork inside. Additonally, visual art submissions included innovative use of different textures and layers on canvas paintings to provide dimensions. The music entries submitted by students were equally impressive, showcasing original compositions written and performed by students. The contest entries were assessed according to grade divisions: Pre-K-2, 3-5 and 6-8. Judges evaluated the submissions based on three criteria: Interpretation, Creativity, and Technique. The Interpretation score was determined by how closely the submitted pieces related to the theme of “Look Within.” Creativity was judged by how original the piece was in conceptualizing the theme and its presentation. The Technique score assessed the level of skill demonstrated. 

Judges assigned points based upon a review of the work itself, as well as the artist’s statement included with the submission. Becker, who has participated in Reflections for four years, explained that the artist statements provide insight into the students’ artistic style and genre. Statements may provide additional information by identifying materials used in visual art submissions or citing references for literary and/or film submissions. 

Becker explained that the National PTA Reflections contest is unique in that the Interpretation component is weighted more heavily than the other criteria. This is because the PTA firmly believes that a well-developed concept is important. Becker added that if there is a tie, the entry with the higher Interpretation score may be more likely to win based on the value placed on this criterion. 

Students are allowed to submit an entry for more than one category. Winners from each category will be receive awards. The awards recognize 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place and include an Honorable Mention category. Becker commented, “All first place winners go on to compete against other schools in the nation.” The winners of the contest will be honored at an award ceremony to be scheduled at a future date. 


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