Celebrating the art of the letter

Ideally, The World Famous Secretary would work in your office. “She types things for people, and she does it in a timely manner,” explains Boston-based artist Jessica Gath of the character she created as a child. “She does her job really well and really loves it.”

Unfortunately, she’s not looking for a full-time gig. But Gath will be surfacing for a one-time performance in Philly this weekend at Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art, where she’ll be happy to assist you with any correspondence. Attendees complete a Mad Libs-style questionnaire, which Gath will craft into a letter and mail to your girlfriend, mother, first-grade teacher or that bartender you always meant to say hello to.

There’s only one rule: The World Famous Secretary only assists with friendly letters. “There were a couple of people who wanted to send not-nice letters, and that is actually forbidden,” says Gath of her last performance. “I’m not interested in that concept. I don’t want any part of that. The World Famous Secretary doesn’t support that.”

Finding the keys for success

The World Famous Secretary doesn’t type on any old keys. “We have this really nice typewriter shop in Cambridge,” says Gath. “The guy who runs it is really passionate about typewriters. When you go there, he says, ‘Are you an artist or a writer? Do you have a decade in mind?’” Gath went with “artist,” and has been with her vintage “Quiet De Luxe” ever since.

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