Omaha Illustrator Mary Mitchell Establishes TCD Scholarship and Awards Funds

Omaha Illustrator Mary Mitchell Establishes TCD Scholarship and Awards Funds

05 Mar 2012    

Omaha-based fashion illustrator Mary Mitchell and her husband John have recently created two funds benefiting the department through the NU Foundation. The Mary Mitchell Fashion Illustration Scholarship Fund is intended to be used to provide scholarships to regularly enrolled Junior or Senior undergraduates in TCD with a specialization in apparel design. The Mary Mitchell Fashion Award Fund will be used for awards to students participating in competitions including but not limited to runway shows, portfolio presentations, apparel design, fashion design, costume, retail, textiles or merchandising. The Mitchells’ generosity will make it possible for TCD to reward some of its most talented and inventive undergraduates, helping them to move closer to their goals and ambitions.

Born in upstate New York, Mary Mitchell studied fashion illustration at the Albright Art School of the University of Buffalo before meeting John Mitchell and settling in Nebraska where she would pursue her career as a fashion illustrator for some of the leading Omaha and Lincoln department stores of their time.

“The skilled fashion illustrator must be able to reduce the architecture of a garment to its essentials while amplifying its hedonic appeal,” says Michael James, TCD Professor and Chair. “This is no small task when the means she has to do this are a few marks of pencil or pen or brush on paper. She must interpret the designer’s stylistic signature, but to be convincing she must render with her own authoritative style. Mary Mitchell’s fashion drawings reveal the confident hand of the experienced illustrator, one who brings to her work an editor’s ability to subtract and to refine, and an artist’s to enhance and to glamorize.”

An exhibit of Mary Mitchell’s drawings spanning several decades is on view at the Durham Museum in Omaha through May 27, 2012.  Drawn to Fashion: The Illustrations of Mary Mitchell celebrates, according to the Durham Museum, “the lost art of fashion illustration, Omaha’s rich retail history, and advertising during an era before Photoshop. The exhibition showcases 150 drawings taken from Mary Mitchell’s private collection of over 1,000 drawings. Mitchell worked for such well known Omaha clothiers as Topp’s, Goldstein Chapman, Herzbergs, Zoobs, and many others during the late 1960s, 70s, and 80s. In addition to illustrations, the display includes period clothing and other artifacts on loan from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Textiles, Clothing, and Design department’s historic costume collection.”  

TCD gratefully acknowledges the Mitchells’ support of our programs and is honored to be associated with both the exhibition and its accompanying monograph, proceeds from which will support the scholarship fund.

Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design