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Joel Schoon Tanis

Joel Schoon Tanis is a celebrated painter who has shown his work around the United States and as far away as Kenya, where he did an art show on behalf of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife.

As an illustrator, Joel has contributed to more than a half a dozen books for children. He won the “Moonbeam Children’s Book Award” for his book Swing!.

In addition to his artistic pursuits, he is also the creator and writer of Come On Over!, a children’s television program that has won two National Telly awards and 13 regional Emmy awards, including one for Joel as host of the show. The show has had such special guests as Jars of Clay, Fred Willard (Everyone Loves Raymond, Best in Show), Ruth Buzzi (Laugh In, Sesame Street), Luis Avalos (Electric Company), Vicki Lewis (Newsradio, Finding Nemo), and Jason Hanson, 
the kicker for the Detroit Lions.

Joel has been part of the Young Auditorium’s Big Read.  In 2011 and 2012 he worked with four area schools to create large, imaginative murals.  Each mural had a panel that was conceptualized and painted by an area school.  While Joel helped the students to process the information from the selected Big Read book, the ideas and paintings were 95% those of the students.  You can see the full mural completed murals for 2011 and 2012.

In July of 2012 July worked with Upward Bound students at UW-Whitewater.  He led them through his process of translating the ideas, images and stories from books into artistic illustrations.  The Upward Bound students read Thornton Wilder’s Our Town,  and used their own creative inspiration in drawing exercises to develop their own artwork.

Joel will be creating a compilation of the Upward Bound student’s words, images and art work into a full-color original book.


You can see Joel’s TEDX talk here.

You can visit Joel’s studio here.