Select Board rejects artists offer, goes with 1921 seal
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | January 19,2013
This image shows the Springfield town seal.
SPRINGFIELD — It’s official. The town seal will grace the cover of the 2012 town report.
The Springfield Select Board voted 4-0 this week to use the 1921 seal, rather than accept an offer from a local artist to make a custom charcoal drawing for the cover. Select Board member Peter MacGillivray was absent.
In recent years, the town has adopted a smaller, more compact format for the town report, and has also saved money by having a single-color cover displaying the town seal.
Town Clerk Meredith Dexter Kelley said local artist Sandra Williams had submitted samples of her work and offered to make an original charcoal drawing for the cover for free.
But Select Board member Michael Knoras made the motion to have the town seal on the cover, noting that letting one artist do the cover might create more problems with other artists in town.
Select Board member Stephanie Gibson suggested that maybe in the future the town could adopt a more colorful and creative approach to the town report.
Gibson said the town report could be illustrated with different photographs and have “special touches.”
There are ‘‘a lot of local artists,” she said.
Knoras said the town could charge for “advertising.”
Kelley said Wednesday that Springfield Printing would be producing 2,300 copies of the town report, which is mailed to every voting household in the town. She said the list has been adjusted to avoid multiple copies of the town report going to a household.
The town seal features a “symbol of youth,” in the words of its formal, 1921 description, and evokes “the union of brain and brawn.”
The seal shows a young man — or mannish young woman — in a short tunic outfit, holding a hammer in one hand and a scroll in the other, standing on a large machining gear. The young man stands in front of Comtu Falls and the concrete bridge over the Black River, with some downtown buildings and a couple of pine trees in the distance.
Kelley said the seal was commissioned by longtime Springfield Town Clerk Merrill L. Lawrence, who first became town clerk in 1882. The seal was adopted by the town on Oct. 22, 1921.
Kelley said the seal’s artist was Russell W. Porter, whose grandfather was Samuel W. Porter, who was also a former town clerk.
By law the town report has to be in the hands of voters by Feb. 23, and she expected to have it in the mail by Feb. 21 and 22, but she was still collecting information — including the finalized town and school budgets — for the report, which covers the 2012 calendar year.