A Visit with Isabella Stewart Gardner: America’s First Patroness of the Arts
Character reenactor Jessa Piaia will present a dramatic portrayal of Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924) in “A Visit with Isabella Stewart Gardner: America’s First Patroness of the Arts.” The drama is set in 1910, seven years after the opening of Fenway Court, the house-museum which Mrs. Gardner designed and built for her extensive art collection, and willed to the City of Boston upon her demise. A recognized leader of Boston’s emerging salon scene, Mrs. Gardner, with characteristic verve and candor, relates episodes about her luminous circle of family and friends, relives journeys to exotic lands, and shares other potentially scandalous encounters. The portrayal runs approximately 50 minutes in length, with an informal Q&A to follow.
Piaia uses drama to reveal the accomplishments, struggles, and contributions of women to American history. Clad in period attire, she is acclaimed for “recreating history in the fullest sense,” and for using “solid research and compelling writing” in her artistry. Ms. Piaia studied performance at London’s Oval House Theatre and graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Research for this program was conducted at the archives of The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Historic New England (nee The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities); Beauport Sleeper McCann House in Gloucester; Boston Public Library microtext department; Massachusetts Genealogical Society; The Church of the Advent, and The Society of St. John the Evangelist.