Art is meant to evoke emotion for an audience.

When looking at art created by elementary school students, that emotion, without a doubt, is happiness.

From smiling monsters to Picasso-inspired collages and paintings of animals, more than 200 art pieces from Charlotte County elementary school students are on display through Saturday at the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda.

“It’s so innocent,” said Mimi Chang, who works at the Visual Arts Center.

She said when children are young, the inspiration behind the work is so innocent and happy; as they get older, their art can sometimes convey heavy topics.

Superintendent Steve Dionisio stopped by Wednesday morning to see the artwork.

“It’s just one more time that shows the talent of students, even as young as first and second grade,” he said.

He was so impressed by one piece from Meadow Park Elementary School’s showing Japanese Koi fish on a tee-pee constructed with branches, he asked if he could display it in his office over the summer.

The piece was made possible through a grant from the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation for $500. The theme was Japanese Koinobori Fish, which was also inspired by the book “A Carp for Kimiko,” by Virginia Kroll.

The school also received a $799 grant from the arts and humanities council for their textured clay turtles, based on the book “I’ll Follow the Moon.”

“It just makes you smile,” said Dionisio, of the artwork displayed.

Dionisio displays different artwork created by students from around the district in his office on a monthly basis.

Student artwork will be on display at the Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud St., Punta Gorda all week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The show will end with a reception on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.

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