It is proven that learning by playing is the most effective educational tool for children and this is what the Italian group Artonauti—created by Daniela Re, a teacher and cultural mediator expert in cognitive rehabilitation for children, and Marco Tatarella, owner of a publishing company in the cultural and artistic sector—has founded in its innovative sticker album collection dedicated to art and designed for kids 7-14 years old. Artonauti is a neologism combining the word Art with Astronaut—referring to an adventurous time travel through art history—and Argonauts, a band of Greek heroes famous for their glorious deeds.
The project rests on three main tenets. First, art is accessible to everyone regardless of age. Second, learn by playing is the most powerful educational tool for children. Third, art and creativity play a pivotal role in children's cognitive development. Various scholars argue that art dramatically contributes to the development of creativity as well as mathematical, linguistic and logical reasoning. When one is able to think creatively it can open up to finding new solutions to the problems on which we are working on. But exposure to the arts can also make young people more tolerant and empathetic. Their awareness of different people, places, and ideas through the arts helps them appreciate and accept the differences they find in the broader world.
The first issue of Artonauti was launched in Italy on March 15th, 2019 and the first print was sold out on the very day of the national launch. In the second album, that came out in December 2019, the four Artonauts join their grandmother Artemisia in a time-travel through World War II and find themselves aiding the Monuments Men in their greatest treasure hunt in history, from the Oval Room with President Roosevelt all the way to the Austrian saltmine of Altaussee recovering Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna . The album is dedicated to Khled al-Assad, one of the Monuments Men of our recent past, who lost his life in 2015 to defend the archeological site of Palmyra from Isis’ rage, and to all those who lost their lives to preserve our shared cultural heritage.