Jackson residents have an upcoming opportunity to weigh in on what the new City Seal should look like. The Jackson Public Arts Commission (JPAC) is holding a meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 17 to get input from the community on the seal’s redesign. Ideas from the meeting will be used to come up with design concepts. An updated design is sought by the City to present a seal that is more specific to the Jackson community and represents its diversity.
JPAC recently reviewed proposals from graphic design firms and selected Weblinx, a company from the Chicago area, to redesign the seal. The only design specifications for the new seal state it must be circular, include the name City of Jackson, and note the community’s founding year of 1829. No reference to Andrew Jackson is allowed. After input in collected at the Aug. 17 meeting, Weblinx will come up with seal design concepts. When they’re completed, JPAC will review the designs and select their top two choices. Those two designs will be considered by the City Council, and a new seal could be adopted.
The City Seal is currently used on official documents and for display purposes around City facilities. The current seal, which was adopted in 1937, references a statue in Washington, D.C. of the City’s namesake, U.S. President Andrew Jackson. Beyond its name reference, the statue and President Jackson have no direct connection to the City of Jackson, Michigan. The City Council’s July 2020 decision to redesign the seal came after discussions on racial equity ramped up in the Jackson community following the murder of George Floyd. At the same time, ongoing dialogue also increased about how historical figures should be represented in public spaces. Andrew Jackson was a slave holder who signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which led to the forced relocation of Native Americans along the “Trail of Tears”. Because of this, some have called for the removal of the D.C. statue that the City Seal is based on.
Angela Edward, Chair of JPAC, says the City Council could be considering a new design at a meeting in Sept. “JPAC will be looking for seal designs that encompass integrity, inclusivity, and a more current representation of how the City identifies itself,” Edward said.
The Aug. 17 JPAC meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. and is taking place in the 10th Floor Conference Room of Jackson City Hall. Design ideas and comments can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or placed in the drop box in front of City Hall.