The Artist-in-Residence program at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was launched in 1992 after the Museum’s 4th director, Anne Hawley, reached out to the artistic community seeking ways to reshape the institution and recapture the vitality that was present during Isabella’s lifetime. Isabella Stewart Gardner surrounded herself with creative people—musicians, dancers, writers, scholars, and painters. Fenway Court was a venue for concerts, a gathering place for thinkers—and even a place for artists to work. Isabella famously invited John Singer Sargent—regarded as the Museum’s first Artist-in-Residence—to use the Gothic Room as his studio to paint the portraits of Boston society.

Artists-in-Residence are invited to live, think, and work at the Museum, usually for a month, in an apartment located in the New Wing. Artists are given full access to the collection and the archives, along with support from the curators, conservators, and staff. Since 1992, close to one hundred artists, both emerging and established, have enjoyed the gift of time spent with Gardner’s collection and archives. Artists-in-Residence have come from around the world and range from visual artists—painters, sculptors, photographers—to writers, poets, musicians, chefs, fashion designers, dancers, and installation artists. Artists continue to feel connected and often return to engage with the Museum for years after their initial stay. Visit to view the full list of past Artists-in-Residence. 

This collection presents work produced by Gardner Museum Artists-in-Residence, including books, clothing, jewelry, and prints.