Previously on Milwaukee Flag

On April 25, 2019, Milwaukee’s Steering and Rules Committee approved a resolution to create a new process to come up with an official city flag. This despite the fact that A.) the city currently has an official flag, B.) the unofficial but wildly popular “People’s Flag” has been a thing since 2016, and C.) good lord people, don’t we have better things to do? The committee also agreed on an adoption deadline: May 31, 2020. Just think, this will all be over in approximately seven months. Maybe.

Anyway, the City has now issued an official Request for Information (RFI). The RFI hopes to find someone or some organization that is capable of “conducting the research and outreach necessary to craft a flag reflective of the entire City while at the same time having the skill and resources to create it.” The emphasis on “reflective of the entire City” is ours, though the RFI goes on to emphasize it, too:

It is important to note that the flag branded as “The People’s Flag” was not adopted by the Common Council, at least in part, because it was felt that the process that led to its creation was not sufficiently inclusive. Respondents will be held to a similarly high standard of inclusion.

The RFI also seeks to “identify the probable cost of researching, conducting the outreach for, and creating a possible new official City flag,” because, haha, we’re going to be paying for this.

Anyway, folks interested in dipping their toes into this never-ending mess are asked to email their responses to Diana Herrejon at [email protected] no later than November 15. Check out the entire RFI here.

…And for those who missed the previous 8,000 installments of Milwaukee Flag, here’s a mercifully brief recap:

In 2015, inspired by a TED Talk in which podcast host Roman Mars called the official Milwaukee flag one of the worst in the country, Milwaukee graphic designer Steve Kodis (and, eventually, non-profit organization Greater Together and others) spearheaded a grassroots contest to come up with a new flag. In June 2016, following a 1,000-entry design contest, Robert Lenz’s “Sunrise Over the Lake” was chosen by online voters as the People’s Flag. The symbol was soon embraced by much of Milwaukee, appearing on everything from shirts and stickers to bikes and beer. In July 2018, People’s Flag organizers made a presentation to the Common Council seeking official adoption of the flag. The presentation began well but was effectively shut down when various alders raised concerns about the non-inclusive nature of the People’s Flag contest. Further discussion—and the question of whether Milwaukee actually needed a new flag—was punted to the Milwaukee Arts Board.

[deep breath] In the fall and winter of 2018, following another presentation from People’s Flag organizers, the Milwaukee Arts Board determined that a new flag was indeed needed, and that the People’s Flag contest was indeed non-inclusive. The Board recommended that a request for proposal (RFP) be set up to come up with a new, official Milwaukee flag. Various elements were identified as important to the process, including:

• Include community input and town hall meetings, and community outreach conducted by Council members

• Previous submissions from the People’s Flag process would automatically be included with the general call for new entries

• The Council should provide funding for the process and the town hall meetings run by a consultant and attended by the designer(s)

• Design criteria should be left open

• The designer should submit at least three flag designs for consideration

• A public comment period should follow

• The final designs should be submitted to the Common Council for a final vote

Also, please please please let this end next May.

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.