Reflections art contest: heroic talent

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Northwood accepted entries until Oct. 5 for the 50th annual Reflections art contest, presenting a wide array of artistic talent based on the topic “Heroes Around Me.”

The Reflections contest encourages students from kindergarten to 12th grade to submit works of art such as visual arts, dance choreography, literature, film, photography and music composition. All levels of entry were welcome.

“I was unsure about entering at first because I had only recently started art, but I thought that it’s always a good idea to try things, even if the prospect of it seems scary,” sophomore Lindsay Tsai said. “It’s better to try and fail then never try at all.”

A new addition to the contest, the Special Artist Division, allowed students with physical, cognitive or mental challenges to either submit artwork that will not be graded, but still recognized, or submit at the grade level most closely aligned to their cognitive or functional abilities.

In fact, while the entry fee for participants was completely free, there is much to gain from participating. There are opportunities to receive awards and scholarships at the city, county, state and national levels, concluding with the National PTA Student Arts Showcase.

“I’ve seen so many of my friends enter and win a lot of prizes like $50 Amazon gift cards,” junior Andrew Dai said. “Even still, there’s not a lot of competition so chances of winning something at least is pretty viable.”

Tsai entered a painting of mathematician Katherine Johnson in dedication to Johnson’s contributions to NASA that broke gender and racial stereotypes.

“I chose to paint Johnson against a galaxy background because I have always loved galaxy designs and because it relates to how Johnson is a NASA mathematician,” Tsai said. “To emphasize the mathematics part, I drew graphs and math equations in white charcoal against the galaxy background.”

While the theme implied inspirational role models, some students chose other creative interpretations. Sophomore Kaitlin Blam submitted a photo of a fallen tree surrounded by nature.

“Heroes don’t always have to do something extreme to be heroes,” Blam said. “The simple act of a tree providing life to keep Nature alive can be a heroic action.”

The contest is an opportunity to showcase artistic expression and display talent from across the county. Participants can look forward to the next upcoming event in the winter when citywide winners will be announced.