Clara Barton Memorial Sculpture Announcement

The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area is hosting renowned sculptor Antonio Tobias “Toby” Mendez on Sunday, September 18, 2022 at its Visitor and Exhibit Center at the Newcomer House on the Antietam National Battlefield. He will be talking about his work on the Clara Barton Memorial sculpture and its importance to Antietam as part of the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. A formal presentation is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and the artist will be on site until 2:30 p.m.

Mendez will have a maquette (small-scaled model) of his sculpture of Clara Barton giving aid to a wounded soldier following the 1862 Battle of Antietam. The full-size, larger than life statue will be erected in Hagerstown, Maryland at the southeast end of the Hagerstown Cultural Trail and form the basis of a natural lead into the beautiful Hagerstown City Park, home of the Fine Arts Museum of Washington County.

The Clara Barton Memorial is a public-private project that celebrates the life and contributions of renowned Civil War nurse and original founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton. Known by many historians as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” the completed memorial recognizes the moment where Clara Barton broke the barrier for nurses to be present on the battlefield during the course of a battle, under fire, at Antietam. Barton broke ground by becoming the first nurse allowed on an active battlefield at Antietam.  This project honors the legacy of Clara Barton who changed the role of the nursing profession by making it a medical profession, and less a role of servitude.  She did this by providing hands on immediate care as a first responder. After the Civil War she became a founder and the first president of the American Red Cross, creating an institution that has served to provide an immediate response to crisis and disasters, during times of war and peace. Barton also established the Missing Soldiers Office which was responsible for obtaining the whereabouts of 22,000 previously missing during the Civil War.

For more than 30 years, Mendez has actively sculpted public and private commissions from his studio in rural Western Maryland, not far from Antietam. Mendez’s artworks are in place internationally with numerous notable examples within Maryland including the Thurgood Marshall Memorial at the Maryland State House and the Baltimore Orioles Legends at Camden Yards. Other works such as Maggie Lena Walker Memorial in Richmond, the Mohandas K. Gandhi Memorial in Long Island, NY, and the Thomas Kennedy Memorial in Hagerstown show Mendez’s passion for honoring those who advocated change for social good. Mendez uniquely combines a classical figurative sculptural approach with a contemporary vision of overall site design.

The Clara Barton Memorial is being funded numerous individuals and organizations including: the State of Maryland, Washington County, City of Hagerstown, Visit Hagerstown, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Howard and Anne Kaylor Charitable Foundation, Irving M. Einbinder Charitable Foundation, Groh Enterprises, Mary K. Bowman Fund, and the Washington County Arts Council.

The Newcomer House will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Volunteer docents will be available to share knowledge about the Newcomer House and offer assistance to visitors to the three county Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area.

This is the sixth season of Porch Programs at the Newcomer House, HCWHA’s Exhibit and Visitor Center at Antietam National Battlefield. Porch Programs feature presentations, demonstrations, pop-up exhibits, interactives and more from April through December.

The Newcomer House is located at 18422 Shepherdstown Pike in Keedysville, MD. The house is open 10am-4pm weekends in April, May, October and November and daily June through September. For more information, contact Rachel Nichols, Rachel@heartofthecivilwar.org or 240-308-1740.

Last updated: August 26, 2022

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