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Come see what 'WOW' looks like in Reflections exhibit

By LISA AURAND Published: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 6:54 PM EST

What's the appropriate response to seeing a room full of prize-winning student artwork?

How about "WOW" -- the theme of this year's National Parent Teacher Association's Reflections Program.

Beginning today, Dec. 10, hundreds of works of art by students in kindergarten through eighth grade will be displayed in Gallery 202 in Uptown Westerville.

The pieces -- which can be literary, musical, photographic, film, dance or visual -- are centered on a theme chosen by the National PTA.

"It amazes me to see what these kids come up with," said mother Ellen Stadler, co-chairwoman for Reflections in Westerville. "Most of them draw better than I do."

Westerville students submit artwork to their local school's PTA. Winners from each school competitions then advance to district competition. Winners from each age group are invited to private showings and award presentations at the gallery with their families, said Gallery 202 Executive Director Renee Kropat.

And top entries from the district competition will go on to the state and national level.

Typically a library rack is set up to display submitted writing, and DVD players and computers are available to view films and dances and to listen to compositions.

"The theme this year was a lot of fun," Stadler said. "We were most diverse in our video entries."

One video entry is titled A Conversation with Dracula. Others interviewed people to find out what they thought of, when they think of "WOW."

Another student entering a dance performed a rapid tap dance to demonstrate the theme, Stadler said.

And the visual entries were beautiful as well, she said.

"Our photography is always wonderful. It's good to see what kids can do with digital photography. We saw a lot of nature entries ... that made kids see WOW," she said. "We saw sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, a lot of animals."

Stadler, who has two children in Westerville schools, said the contest has taught her children a few good lessons.

"Even if you can't draw, there are still ways to express your creativity and be successful at it," she said.

"From the ... kids' experience, to deal with winning and losing ... is a good experience. Just the feeling of a job well done, regardless of where they place."

Gallery 202, 38 N. State St., has hosted the Reflections program exhibit for the last four years, Kropat said.

"I think it's a real positive experience for all of the kids," Kropat said. "When they come up and they see their artwork hanging up in the gallery, with their parents and with their cameras, they come up grinning."

The gallery will be open during its regular business hours through Jan. 10 for those who wish to view the entries: noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Private tours can be scheduled by calling Kropat at 614-890-8202.

Stadler is already looking forward to see what the students come up with for next year's contest, the theme of which is "Beauty."

"It's going to be another open-ended one," she said. "It was fun for them to get creative and really think about the WOW moments in their lives."

"The theme this year was a lot of fun. ... We were most diverse in our video entries." --Ellen Stadler






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