Drawings by Middlebrook students Cate Adams, Maya Mhatre and Luke Medalla are among the 146 art works featured in a special gallery show at Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium called the International Children’s Art Exhibit.

The annual exhibition is presented by Creative Connections, a nonprofit international cultural exchange organization in Norwalk, and features drawings and paintings by children from 18 countries.

With a “Team Up!” theme this year, Creative Connections asked students in grades 3-12 to draw and paint pictures that show “the many ways they or others in their country, community or families come together to achieve a goal.”

Generally, the exhibition proves that moments or topics chosen as meaningful by Connecticut students like family, friends, traditions, faith and activities, are similarly important to children around the world.

More than 5,000 students around the world submitted pieces, including those from Uganda, Nigeria, Japan, Jordan, Russia, China, Sri Lanka, Guatemala and Brazil.

For the local exhibition, entries were chosen by a panel of educators and artists for “the keen cultural insight each communicates.”

For her “My Soccer Team” drawing, Cate used colored pencils to draw members of her soccer team arm-in-arm after winning a game.

For “Photograph,” Maya drew herself taking a picture of friends while on a hike together. The drawing looks back at Maya with her friends reflected in the camera lens.

In “Boulder Dash,” Luke drew himself and his brother sharing in the excitement of sitting in the front seat of the wooden roller coaster at Lake Compounce in Bristol, Conn.

In previous years, artworks created by the American students have been exchanged with pieces by students from overseas, allowing insights into their cultures. Many schools have also held video conferences with an international school to share details about the project and themselves.

Sponsors of this year’s International Children’s Art Exhibit include the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of the Arts and the United States-Japan Foundation.

The exhibition is free and on display in the IMAX Theater lobby of the Maritime Aquarium at 10 N. Water Street in Norwalk, through Sept. 4.

To learn more about Creative Connections, visit creativeconnections.org.

Maritime Aquarium information: maritimeaquarium.org, 203-852-0700.