Chad Cooper presented a Laguna Beach flag of his own design to the City Council on Tuesday, testament to a community of creative and generous spirits.
Four years ago when Cooper’s father asked him for a Laguna Beach flag to fly at the family farm, he discovered to his great surprise no flag existed.
“I decided to change that,” said Cooper, a 27-year resident, adding that both former Mayor Jane Egly and Sian Poeschl, the city’s cultural arts manager, encouraged his endeavor.
Cooper proposed the concept of creating an official Laguna Beach standard at an arts commission meeting in September 2011, but member Pat Kollenda, while applauding his enthusiasm, noted that such an endeavor would require an open competition. Commissioner Ken Auster then suggested that Cooper undertake the project on his own.
That’s exactly what he did.
Cooper, a business owner, longtime soccer coach and craftsman, took his mission to heart, interviewing 500 locals “from all walks of life” about what Laguna means to them, brushing up on vexillology (the study of flags), and exploring the history of Laguna Beach.
So “with great pride” Cooper presented his creation as a gift on Tuesday night. He explained the elements of the flag, starting with the image of the Main Beach lifeguard tower, Laguna’s “most recognizable” landmark, set against a setting sun, and including the year of the city’s incorporation in 1927 and the city flower, pelargonium (geranium).
“Artistic freedom is why people came here to Laguna in the first place, and it still rings true today,” concluded Cooper, who received a round of applause for his gift.
No word yet on if we can expect to see the gift flag fluttering outside City Hall.