Sharon Louden Leads a New Four-Part Online Workshop on Building Community for a Sustainable Creative Life

Artist Sharon Louden has made helping artists build sustainable practices a central part of her career through countless talks around the world, two books of essays, and workshops with Creative Capital. In a new four-part online workshop starting April 1, Louden will focus on sharing insights with artists on how to approach individuals without a referral, how to navigate existing opportunities, as well as create their own opportunities to build sustainable careers and creative lives. Louden’s hope is to contribute to a community that works for each other, rather than against each other.

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Louden describes herself as an activist for artists. “In my life,” she says, “most of the opportunities, that I’ve been grateful to receive, have come from collaborative exchanges and relationships with people that I’ve reached out to, or cultivated relationships with. Community building is the soul of how artists can sustain their lives over the long term.” The trick is to share best practices about how to do this with people without the resources and access to do so. Though this workshop, Louden hopes to assist those artists that feel disempowered in their careers.

“Artists can bounce back from failure. We can create things from nothing… so why can’t we apply that to developing relationships and creating our own opportunities?”

Louden’s approach is inspired by years of research, information she’s gathered from others, and her own career of working with curators, gallery personnel, and other arts organizations. She points to using artists’ inherent assets to benefit them in this work: “Artists can bounce back from failure. We can create things from nothing—we love a blank canvas to start an idea. Those two things are embodied in risk taking, so why can’t we apply that to developing relationships and creating our own opportunities?”

Louden hopes that the online workshop itself will help contribute to a community of artists that can connect and act upon what they learn. “Through the online workshops, we can start to create community exchanges and develop relationships as I did on my conversation tour,” Louden says, referring to her recent tour to promote her book The Artist as Culture Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life. “We were meeting people that I had encountered and worked with in previous Creative Capital workshops. Through those exchanges they developed their own exchanges and started developing their own opportunities.”

There is also an additional option of signing up to a 45-minute one-on-one conversation with Louden. She sees this as an opportunity to discuss specific challenges that artists face that are unique to their own situation or community. “Artists often have specific issues that are private. Here they can share them with me rather than sharing them with everyone in the online workshop. Maybe I can make connections for them, and answer specific questions—and if I don’t have an answer, I’ll ask other people who can.”

“I hope I can be a catalyst,” says Louden, “who brings in information from all different people and situations to offer to others.”