Joe Summerhays is President of Summerhays Productions, a media communications firm. He is a well-respected authority in the field of visual literacy. Joe regularly advises film centers, schools, businesses, and media educational institutions on the development and implementation of visual and media literacy programs. He has conducted workshops and training programs around the world, including the Middle East and Rwanda Africa. He created the Animation: Minds in Motion artist-in-resident program at the Burns Film Center in New York and is currently developing multiple webshows based on helping young people learn visual communcation skills.
Joe is an award-winning creative director who has advised HBOfamily, Viacom, Jazz at Lincoln Center, AOL, Houghton Mifflin, Schlossberg Design, Tribeca Film Festival, and IBM on adolescent media projects. He has received numerous awards, including the Newsweek’s Editor’s Choice Award, the KIDS FIRST! Award from the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, and a Directors’ Choice Award from Early Childhood News magazine for his contributions to adolescent media.
Joe also conducts seminars for teachers, administrators, and media center personnel on visual intelligence and media literacy. He has taught more than 4000 young people the basics of filmmaking (resulting in production over four hundred animated short films) and has hosted over 20 children’s film festivals to showcase student work.
Because of his background in commercial art and media production, Joe has an insider’s perspective on strategies behind today’s media programming. From his work in software development, television and film production, Joe recognizes the importance of educating today’s young media consumers to appreciate the powerful influence of media. Armed with an understanding of how media is used to influence, persuade, and entertain, Joe also teaches young people how to create their own content, ultimately developing students who are more effective communicators in a media-dominated society. They become informed consumers of visual information at the same time they gain skill in visual information design, composition, and production. Joe is one of only a few media experts who has been behind the scenes working for some of America’s largest media companies — and behind the scenes at some of the largest educational publishing house. He uses this real world experience to inform and develop practical learning experiences for young learners.