Sharon M. Louden is an artist, educator, advocate for artists, editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books, and the Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution.

She graduated with a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Yale University School of Art. Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Drawing Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Weisman Art Museum, National Gallery of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Weatherspoon Art Museum and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

Louden's work is held in major public and private collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art, Neuberger Museum of Art, Arkansas Arts Center, Yale University Art Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others.

Her work has also been written about in the New York Times, Art in America, Washington Post, Sculpture Magazine, ARTnews and the Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as other publications. She has participated in residencies at Tamarind Institute, Urban Glass, Franconia Sculpture Park, Society of the Four Arts and Art Omi. 

Louden’s recent projects include “Windows” at the Tweed Museum of Art (2015-17). Currently on view are two more iterations of “Windows” at the University of Wyoming Art Museum in Laramie, WY (2018-20) and at the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK (2019-20). On view in September and October 2019 was a second iteration of “Origins,” a collaborative project by Louden and Hrag Vartanian at Signs and Symbols in New York, NY.

Sharon Louden has taught since 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, New York Academy of Art and Maryland Institute College of Art.

Sharon is currently a faculty member in the MFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts in New York as well as Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In addition to teaching in colleges and universities, she continues to conduct Glowtown workshops in schools and not-for-profit organizations across the country, including a workshop in Tulsa, OK at the Philbrook Museum this coming November, 2019.

Louden organized a popular Lecture Series between 2009-2019, interviewing luminaries and exceptional individuals in the art world and from afar. You can find many of her conversations during her lecture series here. Louden will be partnering with Powerhouse Arts to expand her Lecture Series starting in January, 2020.

Louden is also active on boards and committees of various not-for-profit art organizations and volunteers her time to artists to further their careers. Sharon is a consultant for Creative Capital and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. She is also a member of the Artist Advisory boards of the New York Foundation for the Arts, Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency and the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation.

She is also the editor of Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists published by Intellect Books and distributed by the University of Chicago Press. 

Published in October, 2013, the book is now in its 7th printing. With sales in over 24 countries, it has become Intellect Book's #1 best selling publication two years in a row. The book has been translated into Korean, garnered over 45 reviews, the subject of 15 podcasts and radio appearances and received more individual feedback than can be counted. 

From September, 2013 until late May, 2015, Louden went on a 62-stop book tour, where she met thousands of artists from all over the US. Louden has continued this momentum bringing her second book, The Artist as Culture Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, on an extensive 102-stop conversation/book tour which launched at the Strand Book Store on March 2, 2017 and concluded in Fairbanks, Alaska in April, 2018. This book is now in its second printing and has also sold in 24 countries as well as adopted in many schools all over the US.

The last book in the trilogy of Living and Sustaining a Creative Life books, Last Artist Standing, will be published in 2021. In addition, Louden has signed a contract to be a Senior Editor of a series of 10 books released over 10 years beginning in 2020, and is also working on a book entitled, The Innovators: Defining Change in the Art World, co-edited with critic, writer and Arts.Black Co-Founder Jessica Lynne

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.

From 2017-2018, Louden was the recipient of the The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program award of a yearlong rent-free studio space in DUMBO, Brooklyn. She shared her studio through the year by welcoming other artists to come in and draw with her as well as created her first collaborative installation with fellow artist, writer and curator, Hrag Vartanian.  Sharon currently shares a studio with Hrag as a part of Two Trees' Cultural Space Subsidy Program in DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY.

In October, 2019, Louden moderated a panel discussion at the American Craft Council Conference in Philadelphia, PA and was the Keynote Speaker for the SECAC Conference in Chattanooga, TN.

Sharon lives in Queens and works in DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY.