As Ted Kaye noted last November, South Carolina’s capital Columbia is looking to replace its SOB flag with something that better reflects the contemporary city and that will be embraced instead of ignored by the public. After receiving 547 proposed designs, the Columbia Design League had a panel of NAVA members select 18 finalists to present to the public for feedback. The whole process is outlined on the Columbia Museum of Art’s website, on a page entitled Design a Better Columbia Flag!
The feedback period ends on July 10th, and allows for greater weight to be given to opinions expressed by those with some connection to the city (people who live there, are from there, or work there) via self-identification questions on the survey website colaflag.org. Unfortunately the survey presents the 18 finalists in a fixed order, which can introduce artifacts into the results; on the other hand, it anonymizes the designs, presents a statement of intended symbolism for each, and allows respondents to not only assign a 1-10 rating for each flag but to leave comments.
Two years later, it’s gone nowhere. The last tweet from the project (@SFFlag) was in November of last year. Media coverage has also lapsed — with the exception of a Flag Day article posted last week by the real estate website Curbed: San Francisco’s flag: Should it be redesigned?
Interestingly, they are hosting two rounds of design submissions this year — the first round ends August 18, and the second will run from October 16 to November 17. And each round will result in up to 6 contest winners: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes (with awards of $75, $50, and $25), one set based on evaluations of judges, and another on evaluations from a public survey.
Also noteworthy is the involvement of Lee Herold and his Rochester-based flag store Herold Flags (heroldflags.com) as sponsors of the project. This is not the first redesign effort Herold has been involved in — he is proposing the North Star Flag to replace the current Minnesota state flag. Herold also serves as Treasurer on the Executive Board of the North American Vexillological Association, NAVA.
The Code Switch project at National Public Radio covers race, ethnicity, and culture in the US. Today, in honor of Flag Day in the US, they published two flag-related podcasts. (Well, published one and re-published another.) Here they are, for your vexillological listening pleasure.
July 6, 2016 • Why do some people of color embrace the American flag while others refuse to wave it? In this episode from the Code Switch archives, Gene Demby and Adrian Florido unpack the complicated patriotism and evolving use of the flag with immigrant rights protesters and Native American veterans.
A RESOLUTION expressing the intent of the Mayor and City Council of Seattle, to celebrate the best of athletic achievement and artistic expression through the City’s sponsorship of the Goodwill Games and Goodwill Arts Festival, and declaring Seattle to be The City of Goodwill, and adopting a city flag.
Washington state’s most populous county, King, also uses a flag with a face on it: a stylized portrait of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The flag was adopted in 2009 after over 20 years of efforts, lead by African American politicians and civil rights activists Ron Sims and Larry Gossett, to re-affiliate King County with Rev. King rather than its original namesake, US Vice President William Rufus Devane King.
The state flag of Washington stands out among its brethren: not only is it uniquely green, it uniquely bears the likeness of an actual person. People appear on many US state flags, but other than on Washington’s they stand for generic farmers, pioneers, etc. (Many believe the figures on Kentucky’s flag are Daniel Boone and Henry Clay, but this is unsanctioned by any official document.)
Just in case the viewer is unfamiliar with George Washington, the Daughters of the American Revolution in designing the flag have helpfully included the entire state seal, which identifies itself with a circular inscription: THE SEAL OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON 1889. Alas, for the extremely literally minded, we are left with a flag that could be read as saying that it is a seal.
Confused yet? As a public service, we offer the following improvement: