Claire McCardell Project funding update

The Ausherman Family Foundation has awarded $50,000 to the Frederick Art Club’s public art project to recognize renowned fashion designer and Frederick native Claire McCardell with a statue installed in downtown Frederick. Of the total, AFF awarded $30,000 directly and $20,000 as a matching grant. The club met the matching component within weeks of the funding’s announcement in October 2019. Pictured, from left, in the sculptor’s studio are: Linda Moran, chairperson of the Claire McCardell Project steering committee; Marilyn Bagel, club president; Sarah Hempel Irani, the sculptor commissioned to create the sculpture; and Renee and Marvin Ausherman, trustee and chairman/founder of AFF, respectively.

Just a few weeks after the Ausherman Family Foundation awarded $50,000 to its public art project to recognize internationally renowned fashion designer and Frederick native Claire McCardell, The Frederick Art Club reached AFF’s matching requirements for $20,000 of the grant.

AFF’s substantial funding was first announced at the October launch event for the Frederick Art Club’s Claire McCardell Project. Of the total grant amount, AFF awarded $30,000 outright.

“Our project has gathered so much positive energy in the community that we were able to relatively quickly meet the grant match,” said Marilyn Bagel, president of The Frederick Art Club. “Ausherman Family Foundation really challenged us to step up our fundraising efforts. We’re grateful.”

The Frederick Art Club has set a $229,000 fundraising goal to create a larger-than-life bronze statue of Claire McCardell (1905-1958), with plans to unveil the finished statue in 2021.

“This level of support from such a major foundation tells us our vision has real meaning and purpose in the community,” said Linda Moran, chairperson of the project steering committee. “Claire McCardell was an innovative artist and business leader in the 1930s, ‘40s and ’50s. She revolutionized fashion for American women, and we’re excited to put her on a pedestal here in her hometown.”

Sarah Hempel Irani, an award-winning sculptor whose studio is in downtown Frederick, has been commissioned to create the sculpture, which will be installed at the east end of Carroll Creek Park. Kirilloff Designs, also based in Frederick, will design an accompanying wayside exhibit that will tell McCardell’s story.

The Claire McCardell Project is a fund of the Community Foundation of Frederick County, making gifts to the fund tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Donations are accepted electronically at

Ausherman Family Foundation is a private foundation established in 2006. The trustees envision a vibrant community where committed nonprofit organizations effectively work together in a spirit of cooperation to advance superior charitable outcomes in Frederick County. The foundation’s mission is to empower the passion for change in Frederick County.

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