Sharon Louden is the Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.



The School of Art is a centerpiece of Visual Arts at Chautauqua (known as VACI and pronounced as VAH-chee). The School is an incubator of inclusive and expansive programming in the visual arts composed of classes, workshops and one-on-one time with mentors covering all media.

The curriculum intentionally breaks apart the traditional methods that silo disciplines from each other and instead embraces a full range of studio and pragmatic studies including professional development for artists, the art of pedagogy, writing in the 21st century, and the relevance of art history today. 

The 2020 artists-in-residence program at VACI welcomes students and emerging artists who have yet to receive wide recognition of their work, including artists as young as juniors in college. Artists who engage in all media are encouraged to apply. This is an environment that promotes collaboration, exchange, and an openness to other art forms at Chautauqua, which includes dance, theater, music and more.

The program has a base core-faculty along with visiting artists who will hold workshops and give lectures throughout the summer:

Hrag Vartanian, Alpesh Kantilal Patel, Yasmeen Siddiqui, Hasan Elahi, Wendy Red Star, Jean Shin, Tia Simone-Gardner, Raheleh Filsoofi

For more information on the program and the application process which begins in September 2019, please visit the VACI website:



  • Warren, Matt, “Chautauqua Interviews," WJTN, Media One Radio Group, July - August, 2019