Building and Sustaining Professional Relationships: Tips from Sharon Louden


Sharon Louden recording an interview with Bad At Sports

Sharon recording an interview for Bad At Sports

Sharon Louden is a remarkable individual; she is a successful artist, editor, teacher, consultant and leader in Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program. Sharon delivers invaluable guidance on communicating with art world figures in the four-part webinar, How to Approach and Engage with the Gatekeepers of the Art World. Sharon’s transparent and earnest approach to sustaining professional connections is drawn from her own experiences and her decades of experience working with other artists. Below you’ll find some tips adapted from Sharon’s course that we and past webinar participants have found most useful.

  1. Have a reason to connect. Create an opportunity or situation for a conversation to occur, i.e. invite a gallerist to your open studio event or reach to other artists or curators in towns to which you’re traveling for a meeting or just coffee.
  2. Have a deadline. This is your call-to-action during correspondence. People are busy and may not respond quickly, or at all, to open-ended conversations or requests.
  3. Always consider the other person in correspondence. Everyone has a different pace and schedule for managing correspondence.
  4. Don’t be opportunistic. Aim to build genuine connections. The benefit of someone’s acquaintance may not be apparent for many years to come.
  5. Trust your own reality. If all of your peers are lauding the work of a curator you’re working with but they are misrepresenting your work, don’t shrug it off because of their reputation. Remember that every relationship is different and your interactions may differ from your peers.
  6. Be patient. Timing is everything. In the webinar, Sharon stresses that the right time for a collaboration to occur happens when both are ready for it.
  7. Make your best work, all the time. It’s easy to get caught up in navigating the professional sphere of the art world and making sure your bills are paid. Sustaining your creative practice is your highest priority.

For more from Sharon, sign up for How to Approach and Engage the Gatekeepers of the Art World, taking place Mondays, May 23 – June 13, 2016 at 7:00pm ET. Registered participants will also have the opportunity to purchase on-one-on consultations with Sharon during the series.
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