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

by: Sharon Louden (0)

When Living and Sustaining a Creative Life was published in 2013, it became an immediate sensation. Edited by Sharon Louden, the book brought together forty essays by working artists, each sharing their own story of how to sustain a creative practice that contributes to the ongoing dialogue in contemporary art. The book struck a nerve—how do artists really make it in the world today? Louden took the book on a sixty-two-stop book tour, selling thousands of copies, and building a movement along the way.

Now, Louden returns with a sequel: forty more essays from artists who have successfully expanded their practice beyond the studio and become change agents in their communities. There is a misconception that artists are invisible and hidden, but the essays here demonstrate the truth—artists make a measurable and innovative economic impact in the non-profit sector, in education, and in corporate environments.
The Artist as Culture Producer illustrates how today’s contemporary artists add to creative economies through out-of-the-box thinking while also generously contributing to the well-being of others.

By turns humorous, heartbreaking, and instructive, the testimonies of these forty diverse working artists will inspire and encourage every reader—from the art student to the established artist. With a foreword by
Hyperallergic cofounder and editor-in-chief Hrag Vartanian, The Artist as Culture Producer is set to make an indelible mark on the art world—redefining how we see and support contemporary artists.

Louden’s worldwide book tour begins in March 2017. More information and tour dates can be found online at

The Reviews

What an incredible book! I am midway through the book and each section is moving, thoughtful, motivating, inspiring--wow! I am so appreciating each experience of each artist or siblings as artist in the book. I teach in a violent, administratively unsupported middle and high school. This book has made me wonder--how am in feeding my creativity? How am I being creative? The book is helping me redefine what success is for me...yes, I want to make the money, but I have to say--at what cost. I really, really like this book!

I bought both books by this author ( Sharon Louden), because one reaches into the other.And both present the artist not in a rosy colored ambiance, but in a real, honest light in which the artists candidly share part of their musings, reflexions and plain honest outcomes.A must read for all artists!

Fasanating stories of artist lives! Recommended for anyone wanting to understand why artists do what they do!

This is the 2nd Louden compilation of artist's essays I've read, and it's just as engrossing as the first. I especially appreciate that she finds artists in diverse locations across the country.

Sharon Louden's two books, and her further writing and speaking support an important ideology where in which artists are being supported to talk about their monetary as well as cultural worth, which is translated in these books. They create a new ideology about the way that an artist lives, balances several commitments and continues to make time for their practice. The first books contain essays from artists discussing their own lives and practices. This book contains essays about how artists work with their community. Hrag Vartanian (wrote the forward) believes that the artist should be involved in every area of our lives and involved in planning and politics and business, whereas Sharon Louden goes one step further, believing that the artist needs to make this move themselves, to integrate and share with communities, and move away from the traditional white box scenario. The series of essays written by artists in this book has shown how, and why artists have expanded their practice to include a social or community based element. Buy both of these books. I loved them, they are powerful. Dr Kyle Jenkins, Head of Visual Art at the University of Southern Queensland has made the books a course text. Louden has been generous in sharing these important ideas.Alexandra LawsonCo Founder and Director of RAYGUN PROJECTS (Toowoomba, Australia)

I teach at the college level, and this is a great resource for students, both undergraduate and graduate. Reading these reflections from practicing artists helps them to better understand there truly is no single path to sustaining your career as a practicing artist. I appreciate that the artists are not shy about detailing their struggles, and how they maneuvered to overcome them, or work alongside them. Ethically, it's important to share these stories with students so they can navigate their careers with as much preparation as possible.

I just finished reading The Artist as Culture Producer. As a memoirist/biographer, I'm always intrigued by how people's lives unfold in planned and unplanned ways. Especially those who need to have their creative juices flowing in order to do what they know and love. How does one find the time and place for inspiration when the dog needs to go the vet, the toilet's leaking, your dad fell and looks like he's headed to a nursing home, your back hurts, the internet just went down, and there's not enough money in the checking account to cover the latest batch of bills? Life gets in the way of one's calling so frequently. Those who can rise above all of this are special people.All essays were good, but I particularly liked those by Brett Wallace and Steve Lambert. My congrats to Sharon for taking on this ambitious project and for completing it. Her book book has been, I'm sure, an inspiration to many and will continue to serve as such in the future.

Sharon Louden's book of essays, The Artist as Cultural Producer, is vitamins for the artist who is seeking to innovate, organize and participate in the community around them. As artists, we can get worn down and discouraged by engaging in initiatives and projects that don't necessarily produce immediate results. This book provides encouragement that our efforts do produce a lasting impact. It also gives an accurate picture of how multifaceted the artist's life is. We can be professionals, spouses, parents, entrepreneurs, advocates and servants, all while pursuing our own studio practice. It's helpful to read these stories and learn from others who have walked a similar path. It is also a good read for those outside the art community to find out how the artist's practice is intertwined with all aspects of life and society. The Artist as Culture Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life

What I found most inspiring of Louden's book was the straight up truths behind so many of the artists' beginnings. How more than one candidly admitted they "didn't ever think they had what it took to be a talented artist", and after years of dedication to their craft, a heart-felt passion to pursue an endeavour that made them feel whole and accomplished, and the unconditional support many had from their parents and mentors, they championed ahead with their beliefs and aspirations to turn into wonderfully talented artists. Every day normal people turning their dreams into reality. Is this what we would all love? Well done Sharon for unearthing these wonderful stories and putting it at the reach of the general public out there. May you be more prolific in your work and keep sharing the magic!

The Artist as Culture Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life
⭐ 4.5 💛 31
kindle: $28.99
paperback: $40.24
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