Jane Pierce Is Free

Created for the 46 Artists for America’s First Ladies exhibition

In 2021, the Arts and Literature Laboratory created an art show in conjunction with Forward Theater’s production of 46 Plays for America’s First Ladies. Each artist was randomly assigned a First Lady, with the only stipulation being that the final presentation fit within a 12”x12” wall space. I was matched with Jane Pierce. Visit the virtual art exhibition, including all 46 pieces | View the Jane Pierce page | Purchase tickets to view a live recording of the theatrical production from May 8-23, 2021

I honor Jane Pierce, the most reluctant of our First Ladies, by setting her free. As she shunned public life, I envision her in a private place of beauty. Here, her aching heart has burst its bounds, expanding into fullness that connects to her beloveds. She looks towards the rift where her world breaks through its prescribed dimensions, knowing that within her chosen solitude, a universe awaits.

Jane Means Appleton Pierce was the wife of Franklin Pierce, who served as the 14th President of the United States from 1853 to 1857. Unhappy about her husband’s election to office and mourning the deaths of their three children, Jane spent most of this time avoiding the public eye.