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October 7, 2019
A New Symbol For West Chester
“A flag creates a powerful sense of place for a community,” says West Chester Public Arts Commission chair Jimmer Breen. West Chester’s new flag, designed by Julie Allen, celebrates the Borough’s vitality, walkability, culture, and history.
When the PAC sent out a Call for Art last year, “the response was overwhelming,” Jimmer says. A collaborative and multi-tiered judging procedure, which involved many different people at various stages, followed. From the top three entries, Borough Council selected Julie’s striking design in the Borough’s primary colors.
Julie, a graphic designer who has lived in the area since 2010, was excited when she heard about the contest. “I love the town and I love design and also consider myself a bit of an amateur vexillologist (one who studies flags),” she says.
After delving into West Chester’s history, she laid out the six original streets—Chestnut, Gay, Market, Church, High, and Walnut—and then tilted the grid on its true axis. These were both “fantastic design decisions,” Jimmer says. “The flag reflects the Borough’s central place as a cross-roads town and represents the streets where people shop, work, dine, parade, and play.” The six streets also echo the six Corinthian columns of the county seat’s historic courthouse.
“I purposely left plenty of negative space and continued the lines outward,” Julie says, “because West Chester is always growing.” Jimmer is grateful to John DiGiuseppe, of the Fence Authority, for the idea, and to John Baker and all of the volunteer PAC members for their energy and efforts. The public’s engagement with the process, he says, demonstrates community interest in the impact and influence of art. “The flag adds another layer to the character, culture, and identity of our town.”
The Fence Authority salutes the new West Chester flag. “We are proud to have been a part of the creation of this icon for our community, which we have been serving for over two decades.”