Robert C. Ericksen (Full time)
Title: Artistic/Executive Director, Founder
Duties: Supervision of staff and artists; board and committee liaison; design and production of public information, materials, art work, newspaper, program documentation and development, grant writing, and facility maintenance.
Biography: 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 Root Ericksen (Full time)
Title: Development Director, Founder
Duties: Research, development and implementation of programs and financial resources, supervision of staff and volunteers, website maintenance, program committees, and staff coordinator.
Biography: 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 is a current council member of the Local Arts Network LAN.
Katy Watson (Part time)
Title: Coordinator of Community Arts Access Regranting Program and Executive Assistant
Duties: Current coordinator for the Sun Foundation and Illinois Arts Council Regranting program for Bureau, Marshall, Woodford, and Stark Counties and Executive Assistant.
Biography: BA Psychology and minor of Social Work, University of Iowa. Studied and was a Social Psychology Research Assistant for the Effects of Social Comparisons on Self-concept, Affect, Risk and Behavior Health Psychology under the direction of Prof. Dr. Jerry M. Suls. Trained for nine years in Classical ballet and Contemporary dance, along with Morton Area Players theater and acting studies. Sun Foundation Executive Assistant since 2010.
Brett Root Ericksen (Part time)
Title: Wildlife and Habitat Restoration Director, Site Manager, Duties: Naturalist and Art and Science in the Woods Program Director
Supervision and selection of staff, facility and workshop preparation, restoring and enhancing animal habitat and facilities and medical emergency advisor.
Biography: Brett has studied for 12 years at the Tom Brown Jr. Tracker/Wilderness School & has taken mentoring courses at the Jon Young Wilderness Awareness School. He is a graduate of the SOLO Wilderness Emergency School in Conway, NH. He is a Certified Wilderness EMT, and has completed 425 hours at the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies, Boulder, CO. He is the director of the Aboriginal Survival ArtsProgram. Brett is the Blue Heron Farm manager & Wildlife Conservation Reserve director. He is the owner of Southern Flight Outfitters.
Sharon Obery (Contracted)
Title: Art & Science in the Woods Program Coordinator
Duties: Coordinates Art & Science in the Woods Program
Gary Jameson (Contracted)
Title: Traditional Arts and Blacksmithing Director
Duties: Director of artistic personnel, coordinates classes, evaluation of programs
Biography: Gary has his BFA from Bradley University in Sculpture and Drawing. He is a former Director of the Peoria Art Guild and a professional metal and design artist and blacksmith. He is a founding member of the Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association. He is a former president and member of the American Crafts Council, Artist Blacksmith Association of North America. Past director of the Peoria Art Guild.
Shari Malson (Contracted)
Title: Administrative Assistant
Biography: Shari has been a volunteer, TA, and coordinator for ASIW and has been serving the Sun Foundation for over 10 years. She and her Husband live in rural Metamora, and have two sons, Christopher and Jason. Shari has an Associates Degree in Horticulture from ICC and currently works at Maple Lawn Homes in Eureka, IL. Her hobbies include anything that has to do with the outdoors, plants and the soil.
Eric Grimes (Volunteer)
Title: Director of Grant and Funding Research
Eric has been generously donating his time and expertise to finding grants and new sources of funding to support the many programs offered by the Sun Foundation. He is the owner of Grimes Group, a central Pennsylvania-based development and consulting relationship firm dedicated to providing comprehensive and individually tailored strategies for their clients. More information at www.grimes-group.com.
Libby Verkielan (Volunteer)
Title: Assistant Coordinator
BS in Nuclear Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse. Teaching assistant for autistic students in Germantown Schools. Sun Foundation TA since 2004.
Contracted Financial Services
Terry Bientema, Accountant
Nancy Ekerstam, Bookkeeping