A New Flag for Joplin
In 2016, a group of concerned citizens met together in a house in Murphysburg to talk about how they could improve their beloved city of Joplin. After some discussion, it was decided that what Joplin needed first was something to rally around. As we saw with the tornado, a unified Joplin can accomplish anything. But what could be an enduring rallying point for Joplin for the long term? Historically, whether in battle or in diplomacy, flags have played a major part in representing and unifying people. An interesting TED talk about good flag design and the movement in other cities to turn generic flags into something representative of their community became the jumping off point for the project.
Joplin’s official city flag was adopted in the early 90s when a council member, Dr. Donald Clark, thought we needed a new one. The official current city flag was designed by a member of the city engineering staff. The group respected this work, so before they started, they approached Dr. Donald Clark’s two surviving daughters and made sure they would see the process of finding a new flag for Joplin in a positive light. With the daughters’ enthusiastic support, the group began the process of seeking a new flag for Joplin.
When word got out that this project was being pursued by this group of private citizens, professional designers offered to implement the rules of good flag design and create a flag for Joplin. However, the goal of this process was more than just to have a more emblematic flag, it was to unite the community in the process and it was decided to make the decision a community-wide effort.
At many public brainstorming sessions, people of all ages and artistic talents walked through guided brainstorms to help them document their thoughts about Joplin. Then, working either on their own or through artists who offered to help bring their ideas to life, flag designs were submitted for an initial judgement by a panel of local experts. Five community leaders served as judges who evaluated all of the 80 plus flag designs submitted and chose five to go on to the final competition—a vote open to everyone.
A fierce competition ensued, with people rallying support for their design. Eventually, over 1000 people voted in the competition, and the winning design “Crossroads” by Shane Ross, Joplin native, was chosen as the winner:
“When I think about Joplin, its history, its location, and even its people, my mind tends to drift toward the idea of connectivity.
Joplin is historically, and remains to this day, a centralized location for travel and trade within the Four States region.
This is represented by the two stripes that meet at the “crossroads” of Historic Route 66 and Highway 43. Also known as 7th & Main in Downtown Joplin!
I have witnessed the pride, the tenacity, and the strong heart beating within this town and have felt the impact that is the solidarity and unity of its people first hand.
To me, Joplin is and will always be a shining star guiding me on my way home and that is why I placed the star right at the heart of Joplin in Southwest Missouri.
Being a survivor of the 2011 tornado, I chose the light blue in the background because, to me, it conveys a feeling of clear, peaceful skies to contrast the tragedy and devastation.
It represents the calming of the storm and our faith and trust in the future that we can and will build together in spite of the disaster.
The choice of white and black is a symbol of progressive thinking and a reminder to not allow ourselves to be bound by the shackles of hatred and ignorance.
And finally, the design nerd in me wanted something that would closely resemble the Fibonacci Sequence, which is why the composition of the flag is similar to a logarithmic spiral or golden section.”
Although City Council was involved in the process from early on, a resolution has yet to be passed to make “Crossroads” the official flag of the city.
Crossroads is a new symbol of pride and hope for Joplin. The flag is a celebration of what makes Joplin such a great city!
The Crossroads flag design is public domain, meaning it is free for anyone to use, print, sell, etc. What can you create with it?
How Can I Get Involved?
We have many opportunities available for those of you who want to lend a hand and volunteer your time. Click the button below to find out how you can get involved in contributing to the improvement of our community!