The Claire McCardell Project
"Claire McCardell is probably the most iconic American fashion designer you’ve never heard of. She was the mother of modern casual and activewear, so if you’re a woman who’s donned ballet flats, hoodies, capris, yoga pants, or wrap dresses recently — or packed a suitcase full of knitwear for travel — you’re living her legacy." — Julie Eilber, fashion historian
The Frederick Art Club is proud to drive a significant public art endeavor to honor fashion designer and Frederick, Maryland, native Claire McCardell (1905-1958). Credited with inventing American sportswear, McCardell created innovative fashions that have uniquely defined decades of American fashion. Her design perspective continues to influence the fashion industry to this day, and her work can be found in collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fashion Institute of Technology and the Smithsonian Institute.
In keeping with its 122-year mission to generate appreciation of the value and beauty of art in the broader community, the club has elected to undertake this important public art project to:
Pay tribute to a Frederick, Maryland native who won international acclaim
Commemorate a woman who became an icon in an arts profession
Expand public recognition of exceptional women
Woman on a Pedestal
Claire’s stature as a fashion icon demands that we artfully celebrate her with a commanding presence and placement. The Claire McCardell Project is the creation of a larger-than-life-size, bronze statue that pays homage to the designer here in her hometown. The sculpture will overlook Carroll Creek Linear Park, a world-class urban park in downtown Frederick, Maryland. An accompanying wayside exhibit will tell the story of Claire’s extraordinary career. Through this project, The Frederick Art Club joins a national trend to “break the bronze ceiling” by putting monumental women on a pedestal.
Conceptual drawing by Sarah Hempel Irani
Response has been overwhelmingly positive. The project has garnered endorsements from prominent public, government, and educational leaders. Among these are Frederick City’s mayor and its planning/zoning and parks divisions, the Tourism Council, Heritage Frederick, Hood College, and the Public Art Commission. Our State Delegate is pursuing a capital bond for the project. The Frederick Art Club is committed to 100% participation through financial and volunteer support, and all work to date has been—and much will continue to be—done by members without charge.
The club announced the project in 2019 and has begun a $229,000 fundraising campaign, with plans to unveil the sculpture in 2021. In the months leading up to the sculpture’s installation, the club will sponsor events designed to educate, inform, and raise the funds necessary to make this project a reality. In addition to approaching local business and community prospects, the strategy is to reach out to prominent influencers in fashion, art, and history who have a connection with “our” Claire.
The Claire McCardell Project is a fund of the Community Foundation of Frederick County making all gifts tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Donate Today!