Abby Sher grew up in Los Angeles in a house designed by mid-century modernist architect Douglas Honnold, and from an early age architecture has been an important influence in her life. Sher studied French Literature at UCLA, followed by a master’s degree in Linguistics. While working as a Clinical Linguist at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, she originated the Diagnostics Specifications Manual (DSM) III category "Elective Mutism." In the 1980s, Sher developed Edgemar on Main Street in Santa Monica. Under her guidance, the Edgemar Farms egg-processing plant was transformed into an inventive mixed-use center designed by SCI-Arc trustee Frank Gehry.
Sher enjoys a wide range of interests that have found expression in a variety of diverse and imaginative projects. Her creative pursuits have included making an award-winning documentary film about the Pacific Northwestern woodsman and artist Dudley Carter (1891-1992); founding the Santa Monica Museum of Art (now ICA-LA) as part of the development of Edgemar; performing the political performance art piece A Red Line Connects Us for six months in 2006, and writing an accompanying blog; and performing the Ramayana at REDCAT in 2010 with the CalArts Balinese gamelan group, Burat Wangi. Sher is interested in contemporary "new music" and provided the lead gift and name for the CalArts outdoor music pavilion, The Wild Beast, designed by Hodgetts + Fung. In 2018 Sher developed the series Music at the Wende, which invited Southern California-based music presenters to program concerts inspired by the Wende Museum's Cold War mission.
Sher has served on the boards of several social justice, homelessness and music organizations including the Liberty Hill Foundation, Chrysalis, Wild Up, and the PARTCH Ensemble.