PIXI Awards

Launched in 1993, the PIXIs were awards given by each of 6 Washington communities to honor quality family programming on TV. To learn more about how these communities became involved and how the PIXIs evolved, see the section on PIXIs in our History of Accomplishments.

Photo of Jean Gardner speaking at a podium.
In 1993 Jean Gardner, Washington’s First Lady presented the keynote address at the inaugural PIXI events in each of 6 communities representing Seattle, Spokane, Vancouver, Yakima, Tri-Cities and Whatcom/Skagit Counties.

The PIXI takes its name from the pixel, the smallest component of the image appearing on the TV screen. The final “I” stands for imagination—or the magical link between the smallest part of the screen and the smallest member of the audience, the child.

The PIXI awards were developed as a vehicle for communicating to the TV networks and local affiliates what their communities would like to see in terms of programming for their families.

From 1993-2004 the PIXIs became a yearly event in each of 6 communities located throughout Washington. Each year the event had a slightly different theme. In its second year, for instance, the PIXIs were awarded to programs that offered “alternatives to violence.”

Invitation to Alternatives to Violence event.
Here is a template of the invitation used to invite guests to the second annual PIXI awards. Each community used this template, inserting details about place, time and date of their event.

Nominations for awards were gathered from parents in a variety of ways including placing nomination forms in local newspapers and local libraries along with reaching out to a wide variety of local groups serving parents and their children. In each community, review panels of professionals serving local children and families as well as representatives of parent groups were given the task of determining award recipients.

Here are just a few examples of categories for awards in some of the first PIXIs:

  • Promoting curiosity and learning
  • Promoting Diversity and Cooperation
  • Promoting Family Interaction and Discussion

The PIXI awards were always very festive events bringing together local community leaders,
professionals working with children, and parent groups with representatives from their local network affiliates. It was particularly exciting during some of these events to have among the guests a few of the creators and producers of the award-winning programs who had decided to attend in order to receive their awards in person.

Top left: Cheryl Chow, Seattle City Council member and Steve Pool, local TV personality, watch as Vicki Schoettle, Seattle’s PIXI chair, presents a PIXI award to Burnill Clark, President of KCTS, the PBS station located in Seattle. Top right: Special guest Peggy Charren, Founder of Action for Children’s Television, speaks at the first annual PIXI event in Seattle in 1993. Bottom left: Professor John Caputo speaks at the Spokane PIXIs. On the table behind Professor Caputo are the PIXI awards for the Spokane event. Bottom right: First Lady Jean Gardner meets with press at a PIXI community event.