Families from across Illinois gathered this past Saturday at Millikin University for Spotlight: A Children’s Celebration of Art and Community. The event at Kirkland Fine Arts Center showcased 11081325_10152684873140988_1690164095784135673_napproximately 500 PTA Reflections entries that advanced to the state level of judging, provided a wide variety of workshops, and recognized student artists and leaders from across the state.

The day began with a welcome (and a little showmanship) from Millikin University President Dr. Patrick White before families headed out for a wide variety of workshops. Developed by Millikin arts students and Illinois PTA leaders, the workshops focused on a variety of arts, including drawing comics, writing, working with clay, drumming, dancing, and more.

Following the workshops and fortified with cookies and punch, participants headed into the auditorium for the recognition ceremony. Highlights of the ceremony included the recognition of the special artists participating in the PTA Reflections program, awarding medals to those whose entries advanced to the National PTA Reflections judging, recognizing the winners of the two Illinois PTA scholarships, and the presentation of the Illinois PTA 2015 Outstanding Youth Service Leader awards to three amazing young people making a difference in their community. The ceremony concluded with Millikin University awarding $1,000 scholarships to attend Millikin in any field of study to the five high school level artists whose work advanced to the national level.

As Dean of Millikin’s College of Fine Arts, Laura Ledford, said in echoing the PTA Reflections theme, “The work of the young artists here today represents the continuing commitment of PTA to nurture creativity, curiosity, and wonder in the lives of our children, and Millikin University is proud to share and support that commitment. The world would, indeed, be a better place if the rich, innovative thinking and doing instilled by quality arts education had the support it deserves. Many thanks to the Illinois PTA for making the world a better place.”

Be sure to check out Illinois PTA’s Facebook page and its Cultural Arts Facebook page for lots of pictures and additional information on this wonderful event celebrating the accomplishments of our children.