Flag designed by Virginia Wesleyan to be displayed at Oct. 22 presidential debate


Virginia’s Unity Flag, created by the Robert Nusbaum Center of Virginia Wesleyan University (Photo courtesy: Virginia Wesleyan University)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The upcoming presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden will feature 30 state flags designed to emphasize “unity.”

The flags will feature the color purple as a symbol of bipartisanship during the Oct. 22 event in Nashville, Tennessee.

In Virginia, Virginia Wesleyan University’s Robert Nusbaum Center was selected to create the state’s “unity flag.”

“The flags, representing more than 30 states, demonstrate “purple empathy,” a concept indicative of the optical blending of blue and red coming together to engage in bipartisan civil discourse,” VWU wrote in a news release Monday.

The center has called the flag “A Beacon of Hope.” It features a lighthouse and hearts and was created under the artistic direction of VWU branding and design manager Christine Hall.

“Lighthouses have traditionally served as a guide for ships navigating in turbulent seas. They have also become symbols of hope, illuminating darkness and serving as a signpost for the values and virtues that distinguish America as a beacon of light and a safe harbor for people around the world,” VWU said.

The flags are displayed in the Leu Center for the Visual Arts at Belmont University in Nashville, where the debate will be held.

“I had the extreme honor of unrolling each unity flag and viewing them first as they arrived,” said Dr. Brady Nelson, the Watkins College of Art Assistant Professor and Program Director of Fine Arts at Belmont University. “I became overwhelmed with a feeling of connection and community deeper than I have ever experienced through collaborative art making. Each unity flag is distinctive in its visual meaning and as a collective they help us to understand, become aware of and sensitive to, vicariously experiencing bipartisan discourse.”

For more details, visit the Unity Flag Project homepage.

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