Visitors to the Walter Knott Education Center on Tuesday afternoon might have thought they had stepped into a portal to an alternate universe filled with everything from space aliens to mega-sharks. On closer observation, however, one would discover that they were actually witnessing the imagination of elementary students coming alive at an art workshop sponsored by the Buena Park Council of PTAs.
Part of National PTA’s annual Reflections art program, the workshop brought together more than 30 students and their parents from the Centralia and Buena Park school districts to create works of visual art inspired by this year’s theme, “Let Your Imagination Fly.”
The workshop enjoyed significant community support—it was facilitated by local high school students from Oxford Academy PTSA’s Student Involvement Committee, and supplies were donated by PTA Council vice president Peggy Kruse and Centralia School District trustee Steve Harris.
Sarah Hultman, a junior at Oxford Academy who chairs the school’s PTSA Student Involvement Committee, is an aspiring fashion designer and engineer who has been active in the visual arts from a young age. “Giving back to my community is one of the most important things I can do, and I want to be able to do so in a way that I can share the joy of creativity with others,” said Hultman.
Partnering with local school districts, PTA aims to emphasize the importance of arts in a 21st century curriculum. “Having art curriculum for elementary school students in their classrooms provides them with the ability to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of creative, problem solving, and innovative manners,” said Harris.
Each student who completed an art project at the workshop is eligible to turn in their piece to the Reflections coordinator at their school’s PTA. Winning entries at the schools will then go on to compete at the PTA Council. Winning entries at the Council level will be featured in a county-wide exhibition at the Orange County Department of Education on January 30, 2016, with opportunities to move on to the state and national level.
Centralia School District superintendent Norma Martinez, who helped coordinate Tuesday’s workshop, recognized the importance of Reflections in supporting the district’s mission of student learning and achievement. “Centralia School District proudly supports and encourages its students to participate in the annual PTA Art Reflections contest,” said Martinez. “This year’s theme, ‘Let Your Imagination Fly’, supports our ongoing efforts to innovate our practices and foster student success.”
Martinez further noted the importance of community partnerships in the district’s efforts to promote arts education. “Programs like this reinforce our community efforts to engage with students through the arts,” she said. “I wish to especially commend our Buena Park Council for letting their own imagination fly and hosting a Reflections workshop to further engage with and support arts education with our students!”
The National PTA Reflections program encourages students of all ages and abilities to explore and be involved in the arts. Through the program, National PTA, the Buena Park Council of PTAs and PTAs across the country urge students in preschool through grade 12 to create and submit original works of art in the medium of their choice—dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts—reflecting on a specific theme. 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. Students are recognized each year for their artistic ingenuity to bring the theme to life in a way that is personal and meaningful.
Founded in 1969, the National PTA Reflections engages nearly 300,000 students and their families in arts education activities each year—encouraging students to explore the arts for fun and recognition. For more information about the program, visit PTA.org/Reflections.
Buena Park Council of PTA soversees the operations of all elementary school PTA units in the Centralia School District and Buena Park School District.PTA® comprises of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools.
PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.