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July 31, 2021

Salt Lake City mayor selects new city flag design; council to make final approval

SALT LAKE CITY — We now know what Salt Lake City’s new flag may look like.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall revealed the winning design selected by a flag design committee from the more than 600 submissions earlier this year. The winning flag merges designs of two of the eight finalist designs that were released in July.

“We’re in a once-in-a-generation moment of change and there’s no more perfect time for our city to unite under a new symbol that personifies and unites us all. I believe this is the design that can take us forward, together,” Mendenhall said in a news release Thursday.

The proposed flag was designed by Arianna Meinking and Ella Kennedy-Yoon. Meinking, 18, is a recent West High School graduate preparing to attend Harvey Mudd College in California. Kennedy-Yoon, 17, is currently a senior at West High School.

Their designs were determined to be the best out of 648 designs submitted for consideration. Kennedy-Yoon’s design featured a light blue and white background and honeybee at the center. Meinking’s design featured a sego lily flower inside a blue triangle with a light blue background.

Merged together, the flag represents Salt Lake City and the surrounding area. The blue, city officials say, represents the sky or even the Great Salt Lake. The white underneath represents snow or salt. The sego lily, which is Utah’s state flower and indigenous to the region, symbolizes resilience.

The flag design submitted by Ella Kennedy-Yoon earlier this year. (Photo: Salt Lake City Government)

The flag design submitted by Arianna Meinking earlier this year. (Photo: Salt Lake City Government)

The final design for a new Salt Lake City flag submitted to Salt Lake City Council for consideration on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. The flag was designed by Arianna Meinking and Ella Kennedy-Yoon. (Photo: Salt Lake City Government)

“I hope this flag will grow to become a symbol of the kindness and community that Salt Lake City embodies,” Kennedy-Yoon said in the release.

Mendenhall officially submitted the design for Salt Lake City Council’s consideration Thursday. The mayor will speak to the council about the selection process next week. The council will vote on the design during a meeting Oct. 6.

If it is approved, it will place the current design, which dates back to 2006. Back in 2018, then-Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced plans to look into a possible flag redesign after an online petition brought it to their attention. It’s not that the current flag was offensive, it just wasn’t good, the petition organizers said.

The current Salt Lake City flag design, which was first flown in 2006. (Photo: Salt Lake City Government)

City officials agreed at the time.

“Your city’s flag is maybe one of your most prominent pieces of public art. They help with placemaking, they help with pride in your city, so being able to have a flag that people kind of really rally around is important,” said Matthew Rojas, spokesperson for Biskupski at the time.

The discussion went dormant in 2018, though. Mendenhall, who was a city councilor at the time the redesign discussion fizzled, renewed the process earlier this year after taking office. The commission that looked into the designs consisted of city and community leaders, and even vexillologists.

Salt Lake City Council Chair Chris Warton was one of the design committee’s members. He said the committee took ideas and feedback seriously over the past few months and he was thrilled with the final result.

“I’m looking forward to the council seeing the final design and hearing about the process that got us to this point,” he said.

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