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Reflections Governor's Art School

Established in 1990, Reflections is the only regional visual arts Governor’s school for middle school students in Virginia. We have had tremendous success and enthusiasm for this program from both students and the community. Acceptance to Reflections is highly competitive and is handled within each district. Private / Home School student selection is handled by the Reflections program director. See below for more information.

Reflections is a Summer Regional Governor’s School Program, funded in part by the Virginia Department of Education with local financial and in-kind support. The Reflections Program is a 10-day summer program for forty middle school students gifted in the visual arts, competitively selected from Charlottesville City, Albemarle, Greene, and Nelson Counties, as well as the private and home-school students in the region. Reflections provides conceptual and visual art experiences for artistically gifted students in association with their gifted peers.

Art Galleries from 2023

Key Dates for 2024

  • Applications Due: Wednesday, February 28, 2024
  • Orientation: May 20, 2024, 5:30-6:30pm
  • Program Dates:
    • Week 1: June 11, 12, 13
    • Week 2: June 17, 18, and 20 (June 19 is a holiday)
    • Week 3: June 24, 25, 26, 27
  • Mission

    Students gifted in the visual arts are aesthetically inquisitive and highly self-motivated in art production, eager to create art and perceptive in viewing the art of others. Students gifted in the visual arts need the stimulation of their artistically gifted peers; need to be confronted with challenging ideas, issues, and problems; and need to be exposed to increasingly complex non-verbal symbols and relationships in works of art. The Reflections Program intellectually challenges each student at an appropriate level, elicits curiosity, and sponsors creativity and uniqueness of response in art production.


    The goals of Reflections are:

    • To promote student investigation of drawing as the intellectual and expressive foundation for most visual arts.
    • To promote student investigation of art as a history of ideas about human social and emotional concerns.
    • To expand student awareness of art history and the relevance of art history and culture to one’s life, to viewing art, and to art production.
    • To cooperatively select and present an exhibition of student artwork produced in the Reflections Program.
  • Q – How can I get information about Governor’s School?
     – Contact the art or gifted teacher at your school.  Download the application form online.

    Q – Who can answer more specific questions for me?
    A – Please email the program director, Aaron Eichorst at or call (434) 245-2671.

    Q – How much does the program cost?
     – Reflections Governor’s school is funded by the Virginia Department of Education and supported by Charlottesville City Schools. Tuition of $100 per accepted student is paid by each participating school division. Private and home school students from the region pay $100 each.

    Q – What are the dates of the Governor’s School? How long is the day?
    A -The Governor’s School usually meets during the last weeks of June from 8:30am-1pm.

    A typical day at The Governor’s School:

    • 8:00 – 9:00 Independent work time
    • 9:00-9:30 Sketchbook Groups
    • 9:30-11:00 Class I
    • 11:00-11:20 Break
    • 11:20-1:00 Class II
  • Apply

    Forty students are accepted into Reflections each year. They are selected from rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.  Applications are typically due in early March. Please note: The student application deadlines may be different for Albemarle County. Students are usually notified by the end of the month.


    Instructions for Student Applications:

    1. The student will complete the Student Application.
    2. The student will procure a teacher recommendation using the provided Teacher Recommendation form.
    3. Artwork (1 work): The student will independently make one piece of art using a print-out of the Reflections 2024 Geometric Line Design Exercise. This artwork may be created using any materials or techniques. Originality and creativity are emphasized. The applicant should work independently on creating this artwork, without assistance from parent or art teacher. View this video tutorial for instructions.
    4. Artwork (2 works): The student will submit two of the following three choices:
      1. a landscape
      2. a portrait of a person or a self-portrait (not a cartoon)
      3. a still life
        One of these artworks must be done in pencil; one must utilize color. Students may submit artwork done previously in class or at home.
    5. Artwork (1 work): The student will submit one additional piece or two- or three- dimensional art of his/her choice. (This may also be previously completed artwork.)

    Please note: These requirements total four separate examples of the applicant’s art.

    Sending in applications:

    Students from Charlottesville City and Albemarle, Greene, and Nelson Counties submit their application materials to their respective school divisions, generally through the middle school art teacher.

    Home and private school students submit their application materials directly to the Reflection Program Director for a separate home/private school adjudication. Submit to:  Aaron Eichorst, Charlottesville City Schools Division Annex (part of Charlottesville High School), 1400 Melbourne Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901.

  • Student Selection Committees

    Judging Artwork:

    Each school division committee should judge the artwork according to the characteristics of a student who is gifted in the visual arts.  Students gifted in the visual arts possess superior ability in art and are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in art. “Gifted” in the visual arts includes “talented.” A talented student may or may not demonstrate the scholarship level of the academically gifted child.

    Students gifted in the visual arts demonstrate many of these characteristics:

    • originality or ideas and approach
    • ability to organize ideas visually
    • sensitivity in the use of line
    • sensitivity, subtlety, and knowledge in the use of color
    • sensitivity in design
    • ability to draw from memory
    • ability to express ideas or feelings visually
    • motivation to excel in art
    • variety in the subject and content of art
    • adaptability in working on the art product (willingness to make improvements or fix mistakes)
    • perceptual sensitivity and ability
    • ability to concentrate for long periods of time
    • flexibility in using ideas as stimulus
    • desire for mastery of materials and techniques

    It is the task of the selection committees to evaluate the students first on their artistic giftedness, but it is also essential that there be fair minority and gender representation in the Governor’s School. The selection committees will use the “Reflections Rating Scale” to assess the artworks. The application statements by the students and the comments from the teacher recommendations will be considered in student selection decisions as well as consideration for racial, cultural, or gender diversity.

    Each School division will send a list of selected students and two or three alternates, a photocopy of each selected student’s application form, and the geometric page to the Program Director by the deadline (typically the third week in March). (Students will receive their artwork back during the summer program.)

    Send materials to:

    Aaron Eichorst, Reflections Administrator
    Charlottesville City Schools Division Annex
    1400 Melbourne Road
    Charlottesville, VA 22901

    The original application forms plus all other application materials and artworks will remain in the respective school divisions.

    By the end of March, the Program Director will officially notify students who were admitted or named as alternates. Each school division will then advise all non-accepted applicants that they were not chosen by the selection committee for the Reflections program.

To Learn More:

Program Director: Aaron K. Eichorst
(434) 245-2671