Authors and Artists :: Susan Polis Schutz
Susan Polis Schutz is an accomplished writer, poet, committed feminist, and documentary filmmaker. She began her writing career at the age of seven, producing a neighborhood newspaper for her friends in the small country town of Peekskill, New York, where she was raised. Upon entering her teen years, she began writing poetry as a means of understanding her feelings. She continued her writing while attending Rider University, where she majored in English and biology and later received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. Following her graduation from Rider, she entered a graduate program in physiology, while at the same time teaching elementary school in Harlem and contributing freelance articles to newspapers and magazines. Today, she is the author of many best-selling books of poetry illustrated by her husband, Stephen Schutz, including To My Daughter with Love on the Important Things in Life, which has sold over 1.8 million copies. Her poems have been published on over 450,000,000 books and greeting cards worldwide.
Susan’s latest undertaking is creating documentary films that make a difference in people’s lives with her production company, IronZeal Films™. Her very first film, released by IronZeal Films™ in 2007, for which she was both executive producer and director, featured the coming-out stories of gay sons and daughters and their parents. It was, in part, inspired by Susan’s own son, Jared Polis, a Colorado member of the United States House of Representatives and the first openly gay member in Congress. From there, Susan has gone on to explore a number of other important topics in such films as Seeds of Resiliency, Following Dreams, Over 90 & Loving It, The Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression, and her 2017 release, It’s “Just” Anxiety. Her latest documentary, The Homeless Chorus Speaks, (March 2018) tells the stories of homeless members of the Voices of Our City Choir in San Diego, a chorus that welcomes homeless people in the community to sing, dance, perform, and feel part of a family. Susan interviews fourteen members of the chorus who open up about their dreams and backgrounds as well as their ideas to end homelessness. They each share their own very personal stories which include enduring physical and sexual abuse, losing jobs due to disabilities and being unable to afford housing, battling addictions, needing urgent medical care and having nowhere to turn… and how they have found joy, hope, and renewed purpose by joining together in harmony.
All of Susan’s films have been broadcast to great acclaim on PBS stations throughout the country. As a thriving poet, entrepreneur, activist, and bestselling author, Susan is not only a teacher but also a student of life… who seeks the truth and shares the lessons with the world.
Stephen Schutz is an avid conservationist as well as an accomplished artist, photographer, and calligrapher. A native New Yorker, he spent his early years studying drawing and lettering as a student at the High School of Music and Art in New York City. He went on to attend M.I.T., where he received his undergraduate degree in physics. During this time, he continued to pursue his great interest in art by taking classes at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. He later entered Princeton University where he earned his PhD in theoretical physics. In addition to designing and illustrating all of Susan's books, Stephen is the genius behind bluemountain.com—the Internet greeting card service he created and cofounded with the help of his and Susan's elder son, Jared — which became one of the most popular and widely visited websites in the world. He holds a patent for his 5-D™ Stereograms, which are innovative, computer-generated illustrations and photographs containing hidden, multidimensional images that seem to "come alive."
Stephen also founded Starfall.com, an interactive website where children have fun learning to read and do math. Starfall is used by millions of students in almost every school in the United States and other countries, and each year they complete over a billion educational activities. In 2015, the Polis-Schutz family donated Starfall to the Starfall Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization, after supporting the project as a social enterprise for fifteen years.
Together, Susan and Stephen are the cofounders of Blue Mountain Arts, the internationally renowned publisher known for its distinctive greeting cards, gifts, and poetry books. In her 2004 autobiography, Blue Mountain: Turning Dreams Into Reality, Susan recounts how she and Stephen met in 1965 at a social event at Princeton. Together, they participated in peace movements and anti-war demonstrations to voice their strong feelings against war and destruction of any kind. They motorcycled around the farmlands of New Jersey and spent many hours outdoors with each other enjoying their deep love and appreciation of nature. They daydreamed of how life should be.
In 1969, Susan and Stephen married and moved to Colorado to begin life together in the mountains where Susan did freelance writing at home and Stephen researched solar energy in a laboratory. On the weekends, they experimented with printing Susan's poems, paired with Stephen’s paintings, on posters that they silk-screened in their basement. They loved being together so much that it did not take long for them to begin disliking the 9-to-5 weekday separation that resulted from their pursuing different careers. They decided that their being together all the time was more important than anything else. So Stephen left his research position in the physics laboratory, and he and Susan set out in their pickup-truck camper to spend a year traveling across the country and selling their silk-screened posters in towns and cities along the way. Their love of life and each other, which they so warmly communicate, touched people everywhere they went, and in response to incredible public demand for more of the couple's unique and inspiring creations, their first book, Come Into the Mountains, Dear Friend, was published in 1972.
Of all their tremendous accomplishments, Susan and Stephen agree that their most fulfilling life experience has been being parents to their three children and grandparents to their two grandchildren. After forty-nine years of marriage, they are are more committed than ever to each other, to their family, and to inspiring people to greater heights through film, art, poetry, and education. Theirs is an atmosphere of joy, love, and spontaneous creativity as they continue to produce the words, the poems, the rhythm, and the art that have reached around the world, opening the hearts and enriching the lives of more than 500 million people in every country, in every language, in every culture. Truly, our world is a happier place because of this perfectly matched and beautifully blended couple, Susan Polis Schutz and Stephen Schutz.
Susan Polis Schutz Facebook page
Examples of Blue Mountain Arts products by Susan Polis Schutz
Little Keepsake Books
Sculpted Paper Collection
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