All the Worlds a Stage for Edina Hiser; CMF’s First Arts & Design Scholar

The world is full of colorful, vibrant possibilities for Edina Hiser.  With the whirlwind of graduation behind her, the 2015 inaugural recipient of the Claire Marie Foundation Scholarship in Arts and Design has a degree from the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts in hand and a portfolio brimming with four years of theatrical work.  Los Angeles is now her home as she launches her career.  It is a long way from the halls of Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson Maryland where this self described “art kid” immersed herself in art classes, the school’s annual fashion show and any other creative outlet available which would allow her to tell stories in visual ways. 


As a high school classmate and design collaborator of Claire Wagonhurst, Edina decided to use the scholarship award in her friend’s name to help offset the cost of college tuition at USC where she had chosen to major in Theatre Design with Costume and Scenic Design becoming  the two emphasis components for her major field of study. 

USC’s School of Dramatic Arts puts on an astounding twenty-two productions per year, which created the perfect environment for Edina to consistently express her many talents.  During her four years, Edina served as both Assistant and Lead Costume and Assistant and Lead Scenic Designer on an extremely impressive number of theatrical productions, including well-known shows like West Side Story, Twelfth Night, Cabaret, and Spring Awakening.rst


Now that this uber talented young lady has her USC undergraduate degree in hand, she is living in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future and is currently focusing on building her artistic network and reaching out to the many contacts she accumulated throughout her time in school. She recently worked on an Emmy event for STARZ, the premium cable and satellite television network, and got some on-set experience as a costumer for an independent feature film. 

As a young artist who possesses such an extensive array of talents, Edina presently finds it difficult to narrow down a singular goal or job, when asked about where she envisions herself in the coming five years. “I enjoy the thought of going down unexpected paths. I’d eventually love to work on a big feature film, but I realize that each step towards that is a goal in and of itself. I’d also be perfectly content to remain strictly working in the theatre environment.”

What she does know for certain is that she finds joy in all sorts of storytelling, a theme that weaves its way through all of her artistic endeavors. For anyone who might question why she’s willing to take a risk on a career in the arts, where success can seem so chancy and fleeting, she responds as the true artist that she is, “Doing this kind of work is hard, grueling actually. I’ve never seen people work harder than the ones I came to know and work with in the theatre over the past four years at USC. You absolutely need to have a passion for it. And I just can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”

She went on to explain, “As a person who has always been incredibly touched by the work of storytellers, I love the idea of being able to continue the tradition through my own unique lens.  People look to art for answers and it brings them so much joy and meaning in times of hardship. Being able to provide even a little piece of that is a dream of mine.” 

Edina has, and continues to, find inspiration for her creative work from the people she calls her mentors, both her theatre professors from USC, whom she admirably describes as gifted teaching and working professionals, and from her fellow graduates and those friends still studying at USC, many of whom she now considers to be her West Coast family. 

As for her special connection to the Claire Marie Foundation, Edina is so proud and grateful to have been the first beneficiary of their Arts and Design scholarship. 

“I have loved watching how the Wagonhurst family has grown this foundation over the past four years. To see their heartbreaking loss, evolve into an organization that is not only doing great work, but is so full of love and support for the entire Notre Dame Preparatory Class of 2015, and the school community, is just wonderful.” 

Edina feels that the foundation’s support of the arts is one of the best uses of Claire’s name and is perfectly fitting for her lasting legacy. Claire, just like Edina, loved color and texture, and knew that those elements could bring joy to people’s lives and make the world a better and brighter place. 

Keep your eye on Edina Hiser, who’s artistic storytelling may very well be coming soon to a theatre near you.

Read more

Bringing More Joy, Color and Beauty to the World Through Scholarship!

We just want to send a big shout-out to Margaret “Maggie” Franz who has been selected as the 2019 Recipient of the Claire Marie Scholarship in Arts & Design!  Maggie is off this fall to Savannah College of Arts and Design where she will immerse herself in fashion and costume design.

Every year since 2015, the award is given to a graduating senior from Claire’s alma mater, Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, Maryland to support the recipient’s desire to study the design arts in college. It was a dream of Claire’s to launch a career in interior design and we are thrilled to see other young women share the same passion and excitement. Each year, our winners are selected by an exquisite team of noted design professionals from across the country! They bring expertise in fashion, theatrical, animation, interiors, illustration and fine arts. Our thanks to our CMF Scholarship Committee; Katie Fico with Walt Disney Animation Studio, Los Angeles based Interior Designer Stacey Vuduris, Illustrator Inslee Haynes Fariss, Danielle DiFerdinando of Danielle Nicole Handbags and Jewelry, Theatrical Designer Timothy Swiss of Los Angeles and Maryland’s First Lady and MICA Educator Advocate, Mrs. Yumi Hogan.  We just loved celebrating with Maggie and her mom Kathy!


Read more

US Lacrosse and Claire Marie Foundation Are Teaming Up

June 13, 2019

US Lacrosse has entered a new agreement with the Claire Marie Foundation to work together in reducing the diagnosis of melanoma among adolescents and young adults within the lacrosse community.

The two organizations will focus on providing greater awareness and education about the disease, as well as prevention programs. The Claire Marie Foundation is the only non-profit in the United States to focus exclusively on the prevention of melanoma in adolescents and young adults.

Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in young people between the ages of 10-19, and the most common cancer for people between the ages 20-30, with outdoor athletes at an increased risk for skin cancer and melanoma due to extended sun exposure.

“We are pleased to be collaborating with the Claire Marie Foundation on this important health initiative that could potentially impact so many members of the lacrosse community,” said Bruce Griffin, director of the Center for Sport Science at US Lacrosse. “We think this is an important message to help further educate lacrosse players, coaches, officials and parents about the risks of extended sun exposure and taking the necessary precautions.”

“We are thrilled to have the strength of US Lacrosse behind us in our mission to prevent the development of melanoma in adolescents and young adults. As a lacrosse family, we know well the power of the US Lacrosse community and the commitment of this organization to the health and fitness of its members,” said Marianne Banister of the Claire Marie Foundation. “By working together, we can keep young athletes safe while playing in the sun and reduce the chance that they, like our Claire, will have to give up the sport they love to treat a melanoma diagnosis they don’t deserve.”

Learn more

Read more