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News . Feature Stories . Visiting author Sharon Louden explores creative livelihoods

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January 27, 2014

Visiting author Sharon Louden explores creative livelihoods

CIA co-hosts a public conversation with author at MOCA on Feb. 22

Visiting author Sharon Louden explores creative livelihoods

Creative people of all ages can gain insight into the lives of contemporary artists at a public discussion of “Living and Sustaining a Creative Life,” a book by artist and educator Sharon Louden. Co-sponsored by CIA’s Drawing Department, the event will take place at 3pm on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.

“The book is a fantastic collection of short essays written by artists about how they maintain a creative practice and career,” said Sarah Kabot, Drawing Department chair and co-organizer of the event. “The discussion will be very instructive to our students and the greater creative public.”

At the event, Loudon will discuss her book with one of its artist contributors, former CIA faculty member Julie Langsam. Their interview will be followed by an audience conversation and a book signing. “I hope students will leave this discussion empowered with the tools to be able to get out there and meet life’s challenges with creativity,” said Louden.

The book was inspired in part by Louden’s own struggle to support herself in the years after graduating from art school. Over time, she learned that artists can create many more avenues to success than just the silver bullet of gallery representation. This experience convinced her that artists must share more openly with each other about the economics of their lives.

"Living and Sustaining a Creative Life" offers 40 firsthand testimonials from artists living in New York, across America, and in Europe. Their thoughts range from the conceptual to the practical, and represent diverse approaches to financial and creative success.

Published by Intellect Books and distributed by the University of Chicago Press, the book is now in its fourth printing since its original publication in October 2013. It made the Best Art Books of 2013 list by Hyperallergic, which called it “a strikingly frank book that removes the veil of mysticism surrounding the artistic life.”

“Artists are a very important part of society, and economically we contribute a tremendous amount,” said Louden. “The idea of a starving artist, as romantic as that may seem, is to our detriment. When we’re romanticized, we’re isolated. This book helps clear that mystique, both for artists and the public. Being an artist is a job—and isn’t it great to have a job you love to do?”

Learn more about the author at sharonlouden.com, and purchase her book through the University of Chicago Press.

Photo courtesy of Sharon Louden

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