Sharon Louden's work as an advocate for artists is extensive and growing. Her efforts to create opportunities and collaborate extend not only to fellow artists, but also to curators, critics, museum professionals, educators, and others. Although Sharon focuses her energy as a catalyst, collaborator and connector in the following areas below, her advocacy is ongoing and spread across many different channels at the same time. The underlying principal prevalent throughout stems from the simple idea that generosity yields generosity.
The Living and Sustaining a Creative Life conversation tours which began in 2013 have so far led to over 160 events across the country and abroad involving more than 8,500 attendees. The most recent conversation tour, which used The Artist as Culture Producer as a platform for conversation, connected and created opportunities over a 100+ stop tour. Through panel discussions, symposia, workshops, casual conversations, and town-hall forums, Sharon cross-pollinates contributors from her books with local artists, critics, curators, thought leaders, non-profit organizations, and other members of the general public to learn about, lend their voices to, and be inspired by the vast range of influence that artists exert on society today. Frequent collaborators have included Hrag Vartanian, Wendy Red Star, Austin Thomas and Sharon Butler.
The measurable outcome from these events continues to be substantial and wide-ranging, including employment and exhibition opportunities, community building, individual validation, and implementation of new ideas. Data culled from attendees has clearly revealed what is needed and wanted by artists in every community. The data is also being collected to form a case study that will be shared publicly in different forms, including an exhibition in a collaboration with artist and Living and Sustaining a Creative Life contributor Jennifer Dalton. We are currently working with the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and other partners to organize and distribute this data widely.
The Ford Foundation has endorsed the The Artist as Culture Producer Conversation Tour with fiscal support for events that cross-pollinate book contributors with local artists in communities who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to participate.
Sharon acts as an ambassador from the front lines of artist communities across the country, sharing first-hand accounts with important nonprofit organizations and foundations. Her contributions and partnerships vary depending on the needs of each organization and include mentoring, consulting, leading workshops and webinars, and serving on boards. At every opportunity, Sharon shares with fellow community members to further these organizations' missions and create opportunities for artists.
teaching, public speaking, & Panel moderating
Sharon has taught for more than 25 years since graduating from Yale University School of Art in 1991. Her teaching experience includes studio and professional practice classes to students of all levels in many institutions throughout the United States. Colleges and universities at which she has lectured and taught include: Kansas City Art Institute, College of Saint Rose, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Vanderbilt University and Maryland Institute College of Art. She has been invited as a visiting artist all across the country and abroad.
Sharon is currently a faculty member in the MFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. From 2011 to 2019, she also served as Senior Critic at the New York Academy of Art where she organized a popular lecture series interviewing luminaries and exceptional individuals in the art world and beyond. Louden has participated in more than 250 panel discussions and group convenings over the years, acting as moderator for many of those in museums, galleries, universities, and nonprofit organizations both in the states and abroad.
In her capacity as a community facilitator, Sharon is frequently called upon to make recommendations of artists and critics for visiting artist programs of all sizes.
Patti, Joe, “The Gallery At The End of The Rainbow,” Butts in The Seats, April 29, 2019
Louden, Sharon, “Why Art Colleges and Universities Should Not Act Like For-Profit Galleries,” Hyperallergic, March 20, 2019 [pdf]
Davis, Gene, “Raising the Value of Artists,” Fashion Islands, January 6, 2019
Walker, Kimberly, “Why These Finalists: 2-D and Installation,” Wood TV 8 - Art Prize 10, Grand Rapids, MI, October 1, 2018 [video]
Zuckerman, Daniel, "Talk explores growing the art community," Hudson Valley 360, July 9, 2018
Hervey, Jane Claire, "10 Creative Entrepreneurs On Pursuing An Authentic Career Path," Forbes, May 8, 2018
Hervey, Jane Claire, "This is Why the World Needs Artists," Forbes, February 27, 2018
Terrell, Matthew, "Artist Entry Fees: A Necessary Evil or Barrier to Entry?" Burnaway, January 4, 2018
"Interview - Sharon Louden," Point + Line, September 14, 2017
Kienle, Miriam, "The Generosity of Cultural Production: A Conversation with Sharon Louden," Medium, April 7, 2017
Butler, Sharon, "Sharon Louden: Consultants, careers, and community," Two Coats of Paint, August 1, 2016
Mueller, Nicole and Adams, Amanda, “Beyond the Studio Book Club: Sharon Louden,” Beyond the Studio, April 18, 2019
Ray, Meghann, “Ask the Experts 2.0: Museum Confidential,” Tulsa Public Radio, March 1, 2019
Vega, Tanzina, “Who Gets to Make a Living as an Artist?," The Takeaway, WNYC Studios, April 30, 2019