By Jill Fox
An Instagram post about a contest led Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Sophomore Nick Bedusa to reach new heights.
For the first time, New York City’s Rockefeller Center invited the public to contribute their own designs for flags to appear at the iconic landmark.
For The Flag Project, the 193 flagpoles around the skating rink would each hold a unique flag designed by contest participants who submitted their original artwork.
They were asked– “Show your love for NYC.”
Using a tablet, Bedusa, who lives in Parkland’s Sable Pass, created a digital drawing of a flag symbolizing the queer exploration shown throughout New York.
He said he has always loved to draw, but his artistic style went from simple stick figures to cartoons and realism with more thought put into them as the years progressed.
In his contest entry, Bedusa wrote when he thinks of New York, he thinks of the art, the fashion districts, and the queer culture.
“Since I am fascinated with all three of those things, I decided to design my flag around them,” he said.
His flag depicted an androgynous person in front of a pride flag to show art and fashion are not gendered and are for everyone while expressing the beauty of the LGBT+ community.
Bedusa wrote, “I want my flag to look over Rockefeller Center like how the Statue of Liberty looks over all of New York, a sign of encouragement and protection to everyone.”
It did just that indeed.
Each of the winning pieces was turned into a fabric flag to wave above the rink in August, and Bedusa was lucky enough to visit his in person.
“We were walking down the block, and I saw a flag and thought– that looks familiar,” he said, “It’s the first flag you see as you approach it from this one street.”
In addition to the grand prize, Bedusa received a ticket to the Top of the Rock to get an aerial view of his flag.
“This was definitely a highlight of being in quarantine,” he said.
Now that virtual school has started, Bedusa misses drama at MSD the most.
“It’s not the same. I miss stressing out about learning dances and singing.”
In the future, he is planning on a career in the arts. Whether it’s theater, fashion, dancing, or something else, he’s still unsure.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.