The City of Jackson could soon have a new official City Seal. The Jackson Public Arts Commission (JPAC) is now accepting proposals from design companies on a new look for the City Seal. An updated design is sought by the City to present a seal that is more specific to the Jackson community and represents its diversity.
The current seal references a statue in Washington, D.C. of the City’s namesake, U.S. President Andrew Jackson, waving his hat in the air while riding a rearing horse. Beyond its name reference, the statue and President Jackson have no direct connection to the City of Jackson, Michigan. The seal has been in use since 1937. In July 2020, the Jackson City Council voted unanimously to have JPAC start the process of redesigning the seal. The City Council’s 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.
The City Seal is currently used on official documents and for display purposes around City Hall. Since 2014, the City has moved away from using the seal in favor of a new logo and color scheme used for branding and promotional efforts. This new logo uses is a navy and light blue circle with white lines that signify the City’s crossroads between I-94 and U.S. 127. 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.
Interested designers have until Thursday, July 15 to submit proposals. Angela Edward, Chair of JPAC, says commissioners will review the submissions and present two designs to the City Council for consideration 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.
Mayor Derek Dobies says he’d like to see a seal that is more specific to Jackson, Michigan. “A community with so much pride in its rich history and forward momentum deserves a better City Seal,” Mayor Dobies said. “Cities evolve over nearly 200 years. Our City imagery should represent how we feel about Jackson in 2021 and reflect our current diversity.”
A post on the City website explains seal design submission procedures.