‘Kids Tag Art’ program gives students a voice through creativity

“Art is important because it allows students to have a voice.”

That statement rings true for Gianna Cannizzo, a Skyline Elementary student who has autism and is non-verbal.

Kids Tag Art license plate template (WINK News)

“Some days we don’t get a lot of cooperation. I was very excited that she was included in this tag art,” said Gianna’s mother, Ruthellen Cannizzo.

“Kids Tag Art” is a program that hands a template to fifth-graders across Lee County. The students then create their own license plate design that their friends and family can purchase on the Lee County Tax Collector’s website.

Larry Hart says that money goes back to classrooms that participate.

“We raise these funds to help teachers and to help students,” he said. “We hear a lot of times that teachers are spending their own money from their own pocket to buy supplies.”

License plates made by Lee County students as part of the Kids Tag Art program.

Art teacher Joni Tolford says she loves seeing students like Gianna express themselves through the tags.

“I love this program because the kids get to actually put their ideas, their messages on paper and then they get to see it printed into this changeable object,” she said. “The students can reach milestones.”

Milestones like Gianna reached, as she wrote her name for the very first time.

“She actually wrote her name, so it was very special for us,” said mom, Ruthellen.

These are some of the special moments the tax collector hopes to keep creating in this partnership with the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and to help keep art alive in Southwest Florida.

Last year, the plates sold raised more than $34,000 for local teachers purchasing art supplies.

If you like the “student-designed” plates, you can buy one at the Cape Coral Arts and Music Festival on Saturday.

For more information about the Kids Tag Art program, click here.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Briana Harvath
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