Louisville will honor Enid Yandell this year. | Courtesy of Filson Historical Society and 21 Skye Design

If Enid Yandell isn’t already a household name, she’s about to become one.

In recognition of the renowned sculptor’s 150th birthday on Oct. 6, Louisville is honoring Yandell with a Hometown Heroes banner as well as exhibitions at seven galleries and museums throughout the year.

But first, a little background. Yandell was born in Louisville in 1869, and she created three sculptures here that still exist — both the Daniel Boone statue and the figure of Pan in Hogan’s Fountain in Cherokee Park, and the Wheelman’s Bench in Wayside Park near Iroquois Park.

Enid Yandell in the studio with plaster castings for the Carrie Brown Bajnotti Memorial Fountain, now in Providence, R.I. | Courtesy of Filson Historical Society

Yandell went to school at Cincinnati’s Art Academy and was chosen to participate in the Chicago World’s Fair upon graduation.

She was the first female sculptor from Kentucky to achieve international success and one of the first women inducted into the National Sculpture Society.

And if those accolades aren’t impressive enough, she also trained with Auguste Rodin and Frederick William MacMonnies, and she established the Branstock School of Art at Martha’s Vineyard in 1908.

Yandell was a passionate social activist who also fought for women’s suffrage, among other causes, throughout her adult life. She died in 1934 and is buried next to her sister in Cave Hill Cemetery.

Honoring Yandell comes just in time as the Hometown Heroes banners are nearing an end. She will be one of the last to receive a banner before the programs halts, and hers will be installed on the Harbison Condominiums building near Fort Nelson Park, located at Seventh and Main streets, on Sunday, March 31.

That same day, the first of seven exhibits honoring Yandell will begin, starting with “Interwoven: A Tribute to Enid Yandell” at 21c Museum Hotel. The show features the work of female artists who are part of the local ENID: Generations of Women Sculptors art collective and continues through her birthday, on Oct. 6.

During the exhibit and after, several other events are planned locally, from a bus tour of all her artwork to a lecture by the author Juilee Decker and a birthday party. Below are the highlights.

  • “Olmsted’s Louisville: 1891 to Present” exhibit with special events featuring historical interpreters as Enid Yandell — Frazier History Museum, April-September
  • Breaking the Mold: Sculptor Enid Yandell’s Early Life” exhibit — Filson Historical Society, June 7- Dec. 27
  • “Enid Exhibit” — Speed Art Museum, July 17-Jan. 12
  • “ENID: Generations of Women Sculptors” exhibit — Louisville Free Public Library, Aug. 17-Oct. 8
  • “ENID: Generations of Women Sculptors” exhibit — Bellarmine University, Sept. 7-Oct. 5
  • “France For Me: Enid Yandell in World War I Paris” — Louisville Free Public Library, Sept. 12
  • Enid Yandell bus tour — Filson Historical Society, Sept. 27
  • Enid Yandell Lecture & Birthday Bash, featuring a talk from Dr. Juilee Decker, author of a forthcoming book “Enid Yandell: Kentucky’s Pioneer Sculptor” — Filson Historical Society, Oct. 3
  • Speed Reading Book Club: “Three Girls in a Flat” — Speed Art Museum, Nov. 12

Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."