The Claire McCardell Project - CODAworx

The Claire McCardell Project

Submitted by Sarah Hempel Irani

Client: The Frederick Art Club

Location: Frederick, MD, United States

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $135,000

Project Team


Sarah Hempel Irani

Hempel Studios

Chairperson of the Claire McCardell Project Steering Committee

Linda Moran

The Frederick Art Club

Landscape Design

Sharon Poole

Poole Landscaping


The Claire McCardell Project was commissioned by the women of the Frederick Art Club to honor fashion icon and Frederick native with a larger-than-life bronze sculpture, beautiful garden, and accompanying wayside exhibit.

Claire McCardell was born in Frederick, Maryland in 1905. She presented American women with designs that could accommodate a variety of figures and that allowed the freedom of movement. Plus, she included pockets in nearly every garment. She is heralded as the founder of American sportswear.

Formed in 1897, the women of the Frederick Art Club sought a way to celebrate their 120th anniversary by honoring Claire McCardell. With only 7% of the statues in the United States honoring women, The Claire McCardell Project is a part of an effort to “shatter the bronze ceiling” with a monument to a woman, sculpted by a woman, and commissioned by a women’s organization.

The sculpture was unveiled and gifted to the City of Frederick on October 17, 2021.


Carroll Creek Linear Park is a multi-million dollar flood control project and city beautiful endeavor. The Claire McCardell Project elevates the art along the Creek as well as teaches Frederick residents about its most stylish resident.


The Frederick Art Club spent the first year of the project fundraising. I made a scale model so that supporters could envision what we were proposing. I enlarged the sculpture to 4', then had another studio enlarge it to 7'6" in clay. I spent 8 months on finishing work. We had a mold made in Maryland and trucked the mold to Colorado, where it was cast in bronze. The bronze was transported back to Frederick and installed in 2021.