Semaphore - CODAworx


Submitted by Nancy Brown Studio

Client: City of San Leandro

Location: San Leandro, CA, United States

Completion date: 2022

Artwork budget: $2,000

Project Team


Nancy D. Brown

Nancy Brown Studio


San Leandro Arts Commission

City of San Leandro


Thousands of vivid marker flags in playful collaboration with the sun and the wind. Dig a little deeper, and there’s a story about long-distance visual communication, material culture, and the making of meaning. SEMAPHORE is a multi-faceted public art project funded by the City of San Leandro through a San Leandro Arts Commission Arts & Culture Grant.


The goals for Semaphore were to surprise and delight passersby on a busy residential city street, expand their awareness of what’s around them, and provide a safe way to enjoy art during the pandemic.


"People stop to look and wonder, puzzle it out. It’s so fun to watch them," said a neighbor.
As I worked to lay out and install the nearly 2,000 flags of the Semaphore design, it became apparent that my presence on-site would yield rich community engagement. Early on, feedback from passersby led to design changes that enhanced the impact of Semaphore. I decided to be present on-site for a few hours each week after the flag installation was complete. Conversations that ensued were about the artwork, but also about their lives. Regular postings on social media over the course of the project also indicated a high level of engagement by the public.