Conversation Tour Info
The Artist as Culture Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life

Edited by Sharon Louden

Published by Intellect Books
Distributed by University of Chicago Press

An extensive schedule of programming supported the book’s publication between March 2017 and June 2018. Building upon the success of the previous 62-stop book tour that supported her first publication, Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists, Sharon organized expansive conversations from important stakeholders in each community.

Through panel discussions, symposia, casual conversations and town-hall forums, connections were made between book contributors, local artists, critics, non-profit participants, thought leaders, and other members of the general public to learn about, lend their voices to, and be inspired by the vast range of influence that visual artists exert on society. We included as many contributors as possible from the book, helping to further our efforts to cross-pollinate artists among regions. Our ongoing and ultimate goal is to de-mythologize the tired cliche' of the Artist Hero by dispensing with the notion that contemporary artists should be treated differently from other members of our communities.

Common topics discussed on the conversation tour included:

  • how artists extend their practices outside of their studios.

  • the roles artists play as change agents in society.

  • models of sustaining creative lives in the public realm.

  • redefining who a contemporary artist is today.

  • exploring what success means to different artists.

  • how artists contribute to the well-being of others.

  • aim to answer publicly what artists need and want.

The following documents outline in greater depth our objectives:

In an attempt to better understand, measure, and value the efforts of artists as culture producers, we made recordings of as many book events as possible using video and/or audio. Our experience documenting the first book tour this way was an important component of disseminating the valuable information we gathered from it, and we are repeating these practices for the second conversation tour.

Finally, because the book tour was fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, all donations were tax-deductible.

The final event took place on April 20, 2018 at the Fairbanks Arts Association in Fairbanks, AK. To see the full schedule of our 102-stop conversation tour, please click on to this link and scroll through each month to find where we visited.  
Note:  Compensation to every participant of every event on the book tour met or exceeded the guidelines set forth by W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy). W.A.G.E. is a "New York-based activist organization focused on regulating the payment of artist fees by nonprofit art institutions and establishing a sustainable labor relation between artists and the institutions that contract them." 

Thank you!

Special thanks to the Ford Foundation for their endorsement and sponsorship:


We are also extremely grateful for the in-kind support provided
from the following organizations: