New Minnesota state flag: Commission picks 3 finalists

They started with more than 2,600 state flag designs. Now, 13 members of a redesign committee are down to three flag finalists.

The State Emblems Redesign Commission, which was tasked with adopting a new state flag and state seal by Jan. 1, spent the first half of Tuesday's meeting in St. Paul fine-tuning the state seal.

"I'm not really sure if it needs to say ‘the Great Seal’ or whether it could say ‘the State of Minnesota’ and along the bottom say ‘Mni Sota Makoce,’" said Dr. Kate Beane from the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board.

Members of the commission did vote to add that Dakota phrase meaning ‘Land Where the Waters Reflect the Clouds’ to the seal. However, there was a lot of disagreement over details like whether to include the state motto and the date or year when Minnesota became a state.

Ultimately, both were voted down.


"These are good discussions about what it means to be Minnesotan, what’s important to Minnesotans, what’s historically accurate or inaccurate. So, we have to have these discussions. We can't rush through just because we all want to be out of here on time," said Anita Gaul, vice chair of the State Emblems Redesign Commission.

Then, the commission moved on to the flags. Much of the evening was focused on trying to narrow down the top six designs. The commission heard presentations from all six designers or artists, each with a personal story to share.

"I never dreamed that I would be so inspired at this stage, and I have been so inspired by every one of you... I'm very proud to be a part of this state. Thank you for your commitment to the process, your creativity. We’re taking it seriously. Clearly, you’re taking it seriously. So good is coming out of this," said Kent Whitworth with the Minnesota Historical Society.

The chairs of the commission admitted they thought Tuesday’s meeting would be a little bit easier and that it's no easy feat finding a state seal and flag all of Minnesota can agree on.

"Will there be some people that will be disappointed? Sure. But, I think sometimes it's the naysayers who are the loudest voices in the room. And there's a lot of people who have submitted public comments who are completely on board. Like, ‘Whatever you choose, all of these six (flags) are better than what we have,’" Gaul said.

As commission members weighed which flag designs they liked most, eventually narrowing six designs down to three, they discussed colors, lines, and shapes on each. The chairs agreed the state flag should include the image of the North Star and should be unifying.

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Submission F944

"Hopefully, there's one flag that we can all feel unified and come together," said Luis Fitch, chair of the State Emblems Redesign Commission.

State officials said the next step is for graphic designers to create additional mockups of the designs based on the modifications discussed by the commission Tuesday evening. The commission’s next meeting is set for Friday from 1 to 5 p.m.