Sun Peaks Center for Art & Sustainability
a non-profit educational organization
A Model of Sustainability
Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, after 40 years of conception, design and construction, this project explores new terrain, featuring a variety of designs and ideas that embody a new balance between current technology and future possibilities, bringing breakthroughs in environmental science down to a comfortable, understandable human scale.
The creation of a non-profit organization came about in 2015; it was a collaboration between Ray Armstrong, the developer of the property, and Marne Adler, an internationally known artist and arts educator and advocate. This allowed a unique vision combining science and art to inspire a model of sustainability in the areas of water conservation, renewable energy, gardens, Koi ponds and art and design.
Ray Armstrong: Creator, Founder, Philanthropist
The idea of a self-contained model of environmental sustainability began the day Ray Armstrong first sat on a knoll… the highest point on a piece of land which he had just acquired.
At once, Ray felt a powerful sense of responsibility to preserve the natural beauty of this land, conserving it for generations to come.
Ray Armstrong began his adult life at UCLA. It was a busy time, as he was on a football and track scholarship, while majoring in Zoology. He played in UCLA’s first Rose Bowl victory against Michigan State and was an Academic All American.
Upon graduation, he entered UCLA dental school, after which he found himself in Denver completing a dental internship. During this time, he fell in love with the mountains of Colorado, and all the skiing, mountain climbing, running, biking and everything else Colorado has to offer. He just couldn’t leave.
Ray set up a solo dental practice in Colorado Springs, and maintained this practice for 40 years. Early on, in 1976, he found the property where Sun Peaks now sits, and the vision to create something that would give back to the community. He has been slowly evolving and developing the place ever since. He retired from dentistry in 2013, to devote all his time to continuing the realization of his vision.
Recently, he decided that what has developed into quite a model of Sustainability should now be available for others to experience and learn from, and so began Sun Peaks Center for Art & Sustainability, a non-profit educational organization.
Marne Adler: Executive Director
In the spring of 2015, Marne Adler was introduced to Ray Armstrong and the property now known as Sun Peaks. An artist living in Florida, she had come to Colorado to use a printmaking facility in Denver for an upcoming show.
Marne began her career as a high school art teacher, but soon her work was being exhibited widely and she left teaching to tour with her shows. Her 35+ year international career as an artist had taken her all over the world, but there was something so very special about this Sun Peaks and its breathtaking environment.
She was so inspired by the beauty of Ray’s place, that she decided to stay on the property and devise a new way to print rather than use the Press in Denver. This resulted in a series of Solar prints based on her experience at the residence, and its focus on natural elements and Sustainability.
Having helped numerous art organizations in the areas of program development and grant-writing, when Ray talked about opening the facility as a teaching tool for the community, she knew she could help him bring his vision to fruition. Along with Ray’s environmental education programs, Marne created an Artist In Residency Program so that other artists could experience the same immersion in the creative process within this contemplative and inspiring setting.