A Publication of WTVP

Community Impact

To strengthen and advance the arts and environmental sciences in rural and urban communities by providing quality and innovative programs, services, publications, research, re-granting financial support, and cooperative efforts for the general public, underserved groups, schools, Illinois artists and local arts organizations.

Community Arts Access
Through awarded grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts along with matching local grants, funds are awarded to art and community groups, schools, social service organizations and libraries in Bureau, Marshall, Stark and Woodford counties. Over the past 27 years, the program has provided a half-million dollars in grants for public arts programming in central Illinois. 

Founded in 1973, the Sun Foundation for Advancement in the Environmental Sciences and Arts, Inc. is dedicated to investing in educational opportunities for children and the general public by:

  • Providing innovative and environmental sciences and arts programs
  • Engaging audiences and students with outstanding artists, engineers, architects, geologists, archeologists and scientists
  • Promoting in-depth knowledge, creativity, firsthand learning and stewardship

Clean Water Celebration
The 28th annual Sun Foundation Clean Water Celebration launched as a Virtual Environmental Classroom on April 26 and will be available at for a year. For nearly three decades, the Clean Water Celebration has engaged over 63,000 middle and high school students, their teachers and the public in ways to become stewards for the planet’s natural resources, locally and globally. 

Interactiva Design Studios created a virtual Clean Water Celebration for individuals to participate in—instead of tents of artwork, there are tents containing the presenters, our Clean Water Champions, via links to the Sun Foundation YouTube channel. Recycled Robin, our droid avatar, will take participants through interactive stations on prairie plants, composting, the magical properties of water, wetlands, bird migration, archeological digs, and more. This program is made possible by the volunteer committee, Illinois American Water, grants, sponsors and public donations.

Art and Science in the Woods 
The 47th year of this unique summer youth program has been scheduled for the week of July 19, safely following the State of Illinois Health Outdoor Education guidelines. Students will learn with inspiring artists, geologists, scientists and survival arts instructors, while taking in the natural beauty of the outdoors, including a freshwater marsh, oak-hickory forest, million-year-old fossil beds, restored wetlands and prairies, ponds, and streams. 

Volunteers serve as teaching assistants, medical staff, and administrative assistants. Sharon Obery (program coordinator), Brett Root Ericksen (program director), and dedicated staff provide support for the program that has served over 20,000 students. Many former students, now leaders in their profession, hail Art and Science in the Woods for inspiring them and giving them the educational foundation to pursue their profession. Several former students have returned to become instructors for the program.

How to Help
Our programs are a significant source of funding, so postponing or cancelling them due to the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted our ability to operate. We know these are difficult times, but to those who are able, please consider a donation so we can continue to provide art and environmental science programming to the community for many years to come.

The Sun Foundation
1276 Sun Road
Washburn, IL 61570
(309) 246-8403
Fax: (309) 246-3480
[email protected]

Facebook: @SunFoundationIL

Robert C. Ericksen, Executive Director
Joan Root Ericksen, Development Director 
Dominique Kreie, Executive Assistant
Brett Root Ericksen, Program Director/Facility Manager 
Blaine Adams, Accountant
Sharon Obery, Art and Science in the Woods Program Coordinator 
Karlen Sandall, Bookkeeper
Laura Sandall, Program Assistant
Genevieve Schoepke, Development Assistant