For over 40 years, Robert and Joan Ericksen have dedicated their lives to the Sun Foundation, a non-profit arts and environmental science education organization that they founded and continue to spearhead. Located in rural Washburn, IL, the Sun Foundation’s mission is to strengthen and advancethe arts and environmental sciences in rural and urban communities. Since 1973, the Sun Foundation has served more than 5 million children and adults, nourished new talents for the arts, and fostered three generations of young stewards for planet Earth.
Robert received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and his BFA from the University of Washington, Seattle. He is a co-founder of the Sun Foundation, professional photographer, painter, and metalsmith. His work has been exhibited in both national and state galleries. He is the producer and photographer for films and exhibits documenting the Blackfeet Native American Tribe. He is a former assistant professor at Chicago City College, Everett Washington College, and Eureka College.
Joan has received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and her B.S. in Education from Northern Illinois University. She has also studied at the Art Institue of Chicago, Sorbonne University of Paris, France, and The Gladys Heights International Ballet Conservatory. She is a professional painter and poet and has exhibited her work in both national and state galleries. She is the co-producer and writer for films and exhibits documenting the Blackfeet Native American Tribe. She is the author of the book “The Four Little Pigs,” a book about R. Buckminster Fuller and “Pink Jelly,” a book of poetry illustrated by Kinji Akagawa. She is a former assistant professor at Chicago City College and an instructor at the Cranbrook Academy of Art Children’s Program. Joan was an Illinois Local Arts Network council member for two terms, 2010-2014.
Bob and Joan were recipients of the 2013 Arts Partners Award and were honored with the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club Harvest Dinner Award.