What’s In a Theme?

Reflections encourages students to create art around a theme. This year’s theme:

“What Is Your Story?”


“The World Would Be a Better Place If We Saw the Little Details,” by Isabel M. (George Washington MS)

Interpretation of the Theme is worth half the possible points awarded to each entry in the Judging phase of the contest, so it’s a good idea for students to make use of every opportunity to show the judges how their work connects with the contest theme! In addition to the artwork itself, students can express the theme through the title they choose for their work and through the required Artist’s Statement.

Many students often simply restate the theme to use as their work’s title, and even as the Artist’s Statement. There is nothing wrong with doing that, but entrants might consider putting more thought into a title that expresses their own thoughts of the theme or that says something about the work, rather than simply repeating the theme verbatim.

So who comes up with the theme each year? You do! PTA Reflections holds a national Theme Search competition each fall, looking for theme idea for the Reflections contest two years in the future. (So the current Theme Search will choose a theme for the 2018-19 school year.) Click here for more on the Theme Search contest.


Plane Magic, by Jonathan P. (George Washington MS)

If you are a student and want to suggest a theme in the Theme Search contest, check with your school’s Reflections Chair to see if your school is running a Theme Search. If it is, follow your school’s rules and deadline for entering the Theme Search.

If your school is not running its own Theme Search, you can enter through the Alexandria City Theme Search. Download one Theme Search form for each idea you want to submit (max three per person, each on its own form). Fill out each form completely, add your theme suggestion, and mail it (by snail mail; the state needs your original signature on the form, not a scan) to the city Reflections chair. (For that address and details, email alexandriaPTACreflections@gmail.com.) The postmark deadline for students to enter the Alexandria City Theme Search is Oct. 15. Check with your school Reflections chair for the deadline for your school’s Theme Search.

(Sneak preview of next year’s Reflections Theme: “Within Reach.”)









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