Delaplaine Foundation awards grant for McCardell Project

Delaplaine Foundation Inc. recently awarded a $40,000 grant to the Claire McCardell Project, a campaign led by the Frederick Art Club to create and install a bronze statue of the iconic fashion designer along Carroll Creek in downtown Frederick. Pictured from left in the sculptor’s studio are Marilyn Bagel, Frederick Art Club president; Carolyn Greiner, project steering committee member; Marlene B. Young, president of Delaplaine Foundation Inc.; George B. Delaplaine Jr., chairman of the Foundation; and Sarah Hempel Irani, the award-winning sculptor commissioned to create the statue.

Delaplaine Foundation Inc., has awarded $40,000 to a local public art endeavor that will honor renowned fashion designer and Frederick native Claire McCardell. The grant will support The Frederick Art Club’s Claire McCardell Project, which calls for the installation of a larger-than-life bronze statue of the designer along Carroll Creek Park.

Marilyn Bagel, president of the 123-year-old art club, called the Delaplaine Foundation grant “a major level of patronage for our endeavor and a significant endorsement of public art in our community.” The club has set a $229,000 fundraising target.

“Delaplaine Foundation is a staunch advocate and supporter of community public art, and we see this project as an outstanding addition to Frederick’s artscape,” said Marlene B. Young, president of the Foundation. “Further, it’s an opportunity for us to champion historic preservation by paying tribute to a Frederick native who achieved international acclaim.”

Delaplaine Foundation Inc., is a private family foundation based in Frederick dedicated to the enrichment of communities and families through support of programs that strengthen the arts and sciences, historical preservation, educational advancement and quality of life.

Linda Moran, chairperson of the project steering committee, pointed out that Delaplaine Foundation board members showed an early interest in the project. “Marlene Young immediately loaned us several beautiful Claire originals from her personal collection for exhibit at our launch party. And George Delaplaine Jr., board chairman, offered his unique historian’s perspective in the video we produced about the project. The Foundation’s generous grant brings our relationship full circle, and brings our vision much closer to becoming reality.”

The Claire McCardell Project calls for installing a 7½-foot bronze statue of McCardell in a prominent location at the east end of Carroll Creek Park in downtown Frederick. The approved site overlooks the creek, with McCutcheon’s Apple Products to the south and the restored United Knitting Mills building across the waterway to the north. Award-winning sculptor and Frederick Art Club member Sarah Hempel Irani has been commissioned to create the statue. She unveiled an 18-inch model of the sculpture at the launch event. Kirilloff Designs, based in Frederick, will design an accompanying wayside exhibit that will tell McCardell’s story.

McCardell (1905-1958), who grew up on Rockwell Terrace in Frederick, became internationally credited with creating the American Look in sportswear. Her iconic designs defined decades of fashion and continue to influence the industry today. Among many honors, she received the Coty American Fashion Critics Award, appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1955, and was named one of the most influential Americans of the 20th Century by Life magazine. Her work is held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Maryland Historical Society and Heritage Frederick, among others. She is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

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

More information about the project can be found at

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