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Hall of Fame: 2017 Inductees

Photo credit: Photo provided by Susan Polis Schutz

Susan, a poet, writer, filmmaker and feminist, and Stephen, artist, illustrator, and social entrepreneur, followed this spirit their whole lives. They are the 2017 KPBS Hall of Fame Visionary honorees.

Stephen and Susan believe that the language of art is the best way to communicate ideas. "We must understand the differences among us and celebrate the sameness," wrote Susan in her poetry book "One World, One Heart," which was distributed free to over seven million people just after Sept 11, 2001. Susan, a poet, writer, filmmaker and feminist, and Stephen, artist, illustrator, and social entrepreneur, followed this spirit their whole lives.

As longtime members of KPBS Producers Club, they have particularly enjoyed public media’s commitment to the arts, education, and independent film. Their generous and reliable support of KPBS has made a significant impact on the station’s ability to share educational and enriching programming to the community. Susan Polis Schutz and Stephen Schutz are the 2017 KPBS Hall of Fame Visionary honorees.

In 1971, the young couple founded Blue Mountain Arts, a greeting card and book publisher in Boulder, Colorado. It grew from modest beginnings to a thriving international company catering to independent creativity and the universal themes of love, family, and friendship.

In the 90s, after they had moved to San Diego, they embraced the technological advances of the day and with the help of their son Jared, they created electronic greeting cards and launched BlueMountainArts.com. The site was a hit and featured the same artistic style and emotive themes that had proven so successful.

Photo credit: Photo provided by Susan Polis Schutz

Susan Polis Schutz leads discussion following screening of her film, "The Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression" at KPBS Shiley Studio, 2010. Susan Polis Schutz and Stephen Schutz are the 2017 KPBS Hall of Fame Visionary honorees.

In 2007, Susan’s creative drive lead her into filmmaking with her first documentary "Anyone and Everyone". The insightful look into what happens when gay or lesbian children come out to their family debuted on KPBS and went onto to be shown on public television stations nationwide. Susan’s work in filmmaking continued with "Following Dreams" (2009), “The Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression” (2010), “Over 90 and Loving It” (2011), and “Seeds of Resiliency” (2012). Susan’s latest film, "It's 'Just' Anxiety?" will debut on KPBS-TV on Tuesday, April 25 at 9 p.m.

“Our mission is to make a difference in people' s lives,” says Susan. “Over the years we have become struck by just how closely our mission statement aligns with that of KPBS. We were made for each other, a perfect match. So needless to say, we are thrilled and honored to receive this award. KPBS has always been and will continue to be in our hearts.”

Photo by Lori Lum / Spark Photography

Susan Polis Schutz and Stephen Schutz are the 2017 KPBS Hall of Fame Visionary honorees. Left to right: Stephen Schutz, Dick Hertzberg (2011 inductee), Susan Polis Schutz, and Carol Hertzberg (2011 inductee) at KPBS Celebrates the Sixites, October 9, 2010.

Susan and Stephen have been supporters of many San Diego organizations including UCSD, Scripps Research Institute, Alzheimer's San Diego, and Nature and Culture International, as well as founders and supporters of Starfall Education Foundation. Their six documentary films over the last 10 years have been an important contribution to the programming at KPBS and have been educational and inspirational for millions of people. As the 2017 Hall of Fame Visionary inductees, the Susan and Stephen will be honored on April 22, 2017 at the station’s signature gala, KPBS Celebrates the Arts.

Photo credit: Photo provided by Susan Polis Schutz

Susan Polis Schutz and Stephen Schutz are the 2017 KPBS Hall of Fame Visionary honorees. From left to right: Stephen Schutz (with Buffy), Jorian Schutz, Jordanna Schutz, Jared Polis, and Susan Polis Schutz.

Bio of Stephen Schutz, Ph.D.

Stephen Schutz's first interest was in art. He attended the High School of Music and Art in New York City and studied art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Then, as a true renaissance man, he went on to get a S.B. degree in Physics from M.I.T in 1965 and earned a PhD in Theoretical Physics at Princeton University in 1970. After two years doing solar research at NOAA in Boulder, Colorado, he and his wife Susan started Blue Mountain Arts. He is Chairman of Starfall Education Foundation, a publicly supported 501(c)(3), which he founded in 2000 as a social enterprise to help elementary children learn to read. Starfall now encompasses mathematics and other subjects with over a billion completed educational activities each year.

Bio of Susan Polis Schutz

Originally from Peekskill, New York, Susan Polis Schutz graduated from Rider University in 1967 majoring in Biology and English, and received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Rider in 1996. She was a 6th grade teacher in New Jersey from 1966 to 1967, and a kindergarten and 6th grade teacher in Harlem from 1967 to 1969. Susan worked as a freelance writer and newspaper reporter in Boulder, Colorado before starting Blue Mountain Arts with her husband Stephen. Author of best-selling poetry books including "To My Daughter with Love on the Important Things in Life," Susan' s poetry and Stephen’s artwork have been published on over 400 million books and greeting cards worldwide. Since 2007, Susan has focused her creative talents on producing and directing documentaries that are shown on public television. Her production company, Iron Zeal Films, mission is to create documentaries that make a difference in people's lives.

About the KPBS Hall of Fame

Created in 2010, the KPBS Hall of Fame honors individuals and families who have made significant contributions to the station through their work, philanthropy, and leadership. Since its inception, more than 21 honorees have been inducted in two distinct categories: Lifetime Achievement and Visionary. Lifetime Achievement honorees are former staff whose work set new standards for public media and added to the station’s value within the community. Hall of Fame Visionaries are generous supporters and leaders whose commitment helps KPBS advance its mission and service to the community.

Visit our photo gallery honoring all the Hall of Fame Inductees.

KPBS Hall of Fame Tributes

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The KPBS Hall of Fame honors individuals and families who have made significant impact on the station. These videos pay tribute to all of the inductees since the Hall of Fame was created in 2010.

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