ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 4.8 - NOVEMBER 1999
PBS Doodles with Art Education
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Smudge, Stretch and Doodle in a car.
Accolades and Growth
Before Doodle was even on the air, it had already won awards. The program won a Silver Apple Award from the National Educational Media Network's 1999 Apple Awards Film and Video Competition. Shortly after hitting the airwaves in limited runs, the show won two Aurora Awards; one for color and the other for "best of show" in the comic book art category. The Aurora Awards is a national competition that recognizes excellence in film and video.
The long-term plan for Doodle is both national and international distribution. Currently, Fly By Night Productions is planning to produce an infomercial to sell a Doodle home arts day course for children. The package will include Doodle art supplies, the ten episodes, activity books, and a T-shirt and beret. Hopefully, the revenue will help fund further production of the series.
Americans for the Arts is a national organization that advocates building a better America through the arts. Sandra Gibson, the organization's Executive Vice President and COO, says that while there have been improvements in the area of arts education, "There is still a crisis and we're not where we need to be..." She feels that there is still not enough arts education in schools and explains, "The arts really make a difference in our education... [They] teach us things that regular classroom teaching doesn't teach." Gibson says that these classes teach higher level thinking skills, among other important abilities that children need.
Liz Hobson from KET says that cuts in art education funding have effected Kentucky schools, which is another reason Doodle is an effective learning tool. "Our [art] funding is cut," she explains, "But the reason [Doodle] is so good is that it works either in the hands of an art specialist or in a classroom teacher." Hobson claims that teachers of both disciplines are thrilled with the program.
Having received such positive feedback for Doodle, Fly By Night Productions currently has another educational art series in production called In the Studio. Targeted at high school and college age students, In the Studio includes both live-action and animation. Knowles hosts this show, which blends traditional art skills with the world of digital computer graphics.
Attention and praise for Doodle are expected to grow as the show begins airing on additional stations at different times during the year. Knowles comments, "There's a real hunger for really good practical art instruction...and we're seeing that by the interest that we're getting from the school systems..." With rave reviews from students and teachers alike and awards to boot, Doodle is already making its mark on art education.
Sharon Schatz is a writer/editor in the new media department at Fox Family Worldwide and also works as a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
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