A new flag will be waving over Manhattan as the City Commission approved the winner of the recent contest by 4 to 1 Tuesday.
The “Little Apple on the Prairie” design received the most votes out of seven finalists drawn from 120 submissions. The idea arose in 2018 after Commissioner Jerred McKee shared a TED Talk on flag design principles by a member of the North American Vexillological Association. A designer quoted the city $5,000 to design a flag design, but administration decided to open the process up to the public instead.
City PIO Vivienne Uccello says the contest was intended to “find a meaningful symbol that focused on the community rather than the city logo and would be a symbol that residents could claim as their own and even reproduce on t-shirts or stickers if they chose as a symbol of their civic pride.”
The design features the white silhouette of an apple splitting fields of blue and green and was designed by Kim Medvid. It received 29.03 percent of the 3,021 total votes. Uccello did note that there were mixed reactions on the design on social media and that the race was very close — the winner received 867 votes compared to the 854 cast for the runner-up titled “Sunflower.”
According to a description provided by the artist Medvid, “the apple rising out of the hillside symbolizes the city’s growth as a land of opportunity, and recognizing Manhattan’s nickname as ‘The Little Apple.’ The shape of the hillside is a reference to the gently rolling Flint Hills, and the green color represents the wealth of natural resources in the area.”
The logo of the City will remain the same and branding on vehicles will not change. The design will be made available under a royalty-free creative commons license — though the design cannot be altered when reproduced under that license.
McKee says that the Commission talking for 30 minutes on something like a flag contest doesn’t mean they don’t deal with or care about difficult issues as well — pointing to other items on the night’s agenda which included the 2020 budget and Aggieville redevelopment. He says that part of his inspiration for bringing the idea up originally was seeing the process in Wichita and how the community has embraced that symbol.\
“People can take pride in the fact that there was this community process that happened in order to pick that design and because of that it’s something I can be proud of as well,” says McKee.
Mayor Pro Tempore Usha Reddi thanked those who submitted designs and voted and that she’s very happy with it.
“It’s [good]to kind of reinvent yourself and think a little different and not stay still,” Reddi says. “Let’s do something different and unique that the community had buy-in to.”
Commissioner Wynn Butler was the sole vote against the design, saying the process was flawed.
“It should have been as part of the voting pick one of these or keep the current one,” says Butler. “I don’t know how many would have voted to keep the current one.”
Commissioner Linda Morse says the new design is an update.
“It fits very well with the flags that other communities are adopting in this age where things are more graphic and […] brighter,” Morse says.
Mayor Mike Dodson says he really appreciated submissions by young kids as well.
“You could either say they were crayon drawings or you could say they were op art.”
Manhattan displays its flag at City Hall and Flag Plaza at City Park. The winning artist will be officially recognized and receive a copy of the new flag.