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.
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 and Maryland Institute College of Art.
Sharon is a faculty member in the MFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts in New York and a Senior Critic at the New York Academy of Art where she organizes a popular Lecture Series, interviewing luminaries and exceptional individuals in the art world and from afar.
In addition to teaching in colleges and universities, she continues to conduct Glowtown workshops in schools and not-for-profit organizations across the country.
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 the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation as well as contributes to various organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a member of the Artist Advisory boards of the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Carolyn Glasoe Baily Foundation and a former member of the board of directors of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.
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 18 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 tour which launched at the Strand Book Store on March 2, 2017. This tour concluded in Fairbanks, Alaska on April 20, 2018. This book is now in its second printing.
The last book in the trilogy of Living and Sustaining a Creative Life books, Last Artist Standing, will be published in 2020. 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.
Sharon Louden is the recipient of the The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program 2017-2018 award of a yearlong rent-free studio space in DUMBO, Brooklyn which began September, 2017. 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 for the Sharpe-Walentas Open Studios weekend.
On September 1, 2018, Louden will begin as the next Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY.
Sharon lives and works in Queens, NY.