American artist and editor Sharon Louden has a message for artists on the Darling Downs and surrounding areas.

At the launch of her book ‘The Artist as a Culture Producer’ at the Toowoomba City Library, Sharon told her audience that visual artists should not be afraid to place a decent value on their work.

“Sharon’s views are that artists should understand their own value and the power that they have,” says Dr Tarn McLean, who along with her partner in Raygun Projects Dr Alexandra Lawson, was responsible for attracting a group of four American artists/writers to Toowoomba.

“Sharon also stressed that artists can make a valuable contribution to the community.

“In fact her focal point was that artists should place a proper value on themselves, their work and what they can give to the community above anything else.”

Sharon also advised Tarn and Alexandra that by inviting the group, who are backed by the U.S. Ford Foundation, they now have a direct link with the New York artistic scene.

The visit to the city by the Americans was financed by a grant from the National Association of Visual Arts and was an important arts and cultural occasion for Toowoomba.

A perceptively crafted introduction by the Federal member for Groom, Dr John McVeigh set the tone for what was considered to be a very successful discussion.

The State member for Toowoomba South, David Jenetzki was also in attendance while Toowoomba councillor Geoff McDonald was brilliant in the role of master of ceremonies.

The Americans, who were elated by the response they received in Toowoomba, are on a world wide tour launching the book.

The book, which is comprised of 40 essays by visual artists, described how artists can extend their practices outside of their studios.

After telling of their adventures and experiences Sharon and Hrag Vartanian, who wrote the forward for the book, entered into a lively questions and answers session with an enthusiastic audience.



Banner image: Veken Gueyikian, Gina Fairley, Alexandra Lawson Tarn McLean, Sharon Louden, Vinson Valagea, Hrag Vartanian