ArtObet: An Adventure of Artists from A to Z!Spring 2012 DVD
In this 42-minute educational feature, an imaginative babysitter involves a group of young children in a game called Artobet, a mash-up of the words art and alphabet. Aimed at children ages three to eight, Artobet explores great artists throughout history, spanning notables from Anguissola to Zorach. Each artist is profiled in a brief sequence showing sample artwork, along with a rhyming verse that provides a few interesting points about the artist's style. The verses come with read-along captions at the bottom of the screen and some video sequences of young children in a pantomimed skit related in some loose way to the artwork.
According to jacket copy and show credits, the program was inspired by the teaching methods of Eleanor Palm, who appears in one of the DVD extras explaining art projects she uses in her classroom. Another DVD extra, also directed at adults, features the program's producer explaining the inspiration for this program. The producer's daughter was a student in Eleanor Palm's class, and she was impressed by Palm's innovative methods and advanced themes.
The actors in Artobet are not professionals. However, the mission of the program is admirable and the graphics and animation are truly outstanding. Don't expect children to absorb every detail of the complex subject matter in a single viewing, as there is a lot to learn here. The program can help cultivate a deeper appreciation of the arts, and excerpts of the program may serve as a useful tool to introduce individual artists and art styles in a classroom.