The Dorchester Women’s Mural, a public art project of the non-profit Cambridge Community Arts Foundation, Inc. (CCAF), will feature 12 remarkable Dorchester-based women, past and present, and is slated for installation this May-June by winning muralist Bridget Cimino of Baltimore. CCAF President Theresa Knight McFadden praised Bridget’s design as “bold, energetic, and uplifting” noting that she won in a competition among a field of 17 proposals submitted last year in response to a detailed Request for Proposals.
“We are so grateful to the Maryland State Arts Council’s Public Art Across Maryland grant program, which is providing lead funding for the mural through a competitive process we were fortunate to secure,” said Theresa. “But it all started locally with a handful of individual seed contributions from leaders in the community, as well as start-up funds from a cross-section of community organizations, including the Dorchester Center for the Arts, the Cambridge Arts and Entertainment District, and the George B. Todd fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.”
The Mural Selection Committee initially chose seven nationally recognized women with ties to Dorchester County to appear on the mural: Yogananda Pittman, former Acting Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police; Civil Rights activist Gloria Richardson; Admiral Sara A. Joyner, the first female carrier strike fighter squadron leader; Anna Ella Carroll, advisor to President Lincoln; Bea Arthur, actress of stage, screen and television; and champion sharpshooter Annie Oakley.
This winter and spring, the committee, with input from the community at large, chose to add five additional women, noted for their contributions in Dorchester history: Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, first woman and first African American mayor of Cambridge (three terms); Dr. Lida Orem Meredith, the first woman doctor in Dorchester County, especially noted for her service to the underprivileged; Fronnie Jones, matriarch of a legendary 60-year, multi-generational crab picking family at J.M. Clayton’s; Donna Wolf Mother Abbott, first woman Chief of the Nause Waiwash tribe; and Dakota Abbott Flowers, six-time champion muskrat skinner and former Miss Outdoors.
Said Theresa, “What these women have in common is the indelible imprint they have left on our community. They have shown us that Dorchester’s rich heritage as a waterfront community, where lives are tied to the land and water, can stimulate the imagination of women from humble beginnings to do great things both in our community and in the world. We are so very proud of their accomplishments and hope that their stories, which we are documenting in conjunction with the school system, will prompt other young women to strike out on any path that excites their passions.”
A “Community Artist Day” is planned for one Sunday late in May or early June 2022 for members of the community to sign up in shifts and put brush to masonry under the tutelage of Bridget and help bring the mural to life. Anyone is encouraged to register their interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCAF, Inc. was founded early in 2021 by a group of artists who first met as members of the Main Street Gallery co-op and wanted to expand art projects into the community. The Foundation’s first project was creating the “Little Free Art Gallery” that offers small works of art for anyone who would like to take them home (just like a little free library). “Bring a piece, take a piece” is our motto, said Theresa, “and we have been so gratified by the number of small works people in the community have placed in the Little Free Gallery to be enjoyed and shared with others.”