This year, the PTA received 101 entries from students of all grade levels.
Upon entry into the gallery, one student artist remarked, "Wow, this is just like a real art show!"
As part of this experience, each artist received a special "Artist" name tag and red carnation. Additionally, they saw their art displayed with a name plate, a judge's comment card and a blue ribbon donning the distinction "Artist" or "Judge's Choice."
The Reflections Program, sponsored by the National PTA for over 30 years, provides young artists with opportunities to use their creative talents by expressing themselves through their original works. Each year, Reflections challenges students to create art that supports a specific theme. The 2005-2006 theme was "I Wonder Why ?"
Through the Vermillion PTA, students could submit entries in any of four areas of interest, including literature, music composition, photography, and visual arts. Only original works of art were accepted.
Reflections entries are organized by grade divisions, including Primary, Intermediate, Middle and Senior, allowing for recognition and judging of artwork by appropriate developmental age and skill levels.
Special guests at the gallery included Mary Wipf and Mark Zimmerman, artists who had been spending the week with the second and fourth graders in Vermillion. The Vermillion PTA and a matching funds grant from the S.D. Arts Council sponsored their residencies here.
As part of the evening's events, Reflections' chairperson Lisa Swanson made a presentation to recognize this year's recipients of the "Judge's Choice" awards. She explained that pieces were judged by experts from the USD community.
"Entries were judged on three areas, including creativity, artistic merit and interpretation of the theme," she said.
Up to four pieces from each age division can now be sent on to the state and possibly national levels.
"Our hope is that this positive experience will encourage student artists to continue to express themselves, not just for recognition, but also for fun," said one committee member.
"This doesn't make up for the loss of formal at education at the elementary level, but it sends a message to the students, that we value the time they spend expressing themselves through the arts," Swanson added.
This year's Judge's Choice recipients at the local level included: Dawson Daniels, Graydon Sitting Crow-Skillman, Tori Gundlack-Evans, Kaleb Blue, Epiphany Knedler, Dylan Daniels, Katelyn Lubbers, Julie Renner, Eland Summers, Amy Mollet, Sarah McCann and Stephanie Fu.