Arizona centennial license plate

Arizona’s centennial license plate shows an abstraction of the Arizona state flag. License plates are available starting Oct. 31.

Arizona Centennial Commission


PHOENIX – With a colorful specialty license plate, organizers of the state’s centennial celebration want Arizonans to show their pride one bumper at a time.

Starting Oct. 31, vehicle owners will be able to purchase centennial license plates through Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division offices and licensed third party operators across the state, the Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation announced Thursday.

“We did this for Arizona,” said Karen Churchard, the organization’s executive director. “We had a lot of requests from citizens who wanted a centennial license plate.”

She said the organizers wanted to incorporate the colors and design of Arizona flag into the theme of the specialty plate. The plate features yellow, blue and red colors with a star and sun rays.

“Arizona has quite a story to tell – its accomplishments, history and leadership – and the specialty plate is a high–profile, glowing reminder for all of us to take pride in Arizona’s history as the 48th and last of the contiguous states,” she said.

The plates, made possible by a law enacted earlier this year, cost $25 each. Of that, $17 will benefit the Centennial Foundation and its planned events and projects.

Peter Schikany, president of PS Studios of Phoenix, which designed the plate, said it’s a hybrid of the centennial logo and the state flag and reflects the unique elements of Arizona such as copper and the sun.

“It captures the colors and the historical reference of the Arizona flag and takes elements of those and puts it into a graphic form and fits it into that small horizontal space,” he said.

The license numbers or letters will be flanked by an “A” on the left and a “Z” on the right.

“Everything that we’re doing for the centennial is for those who who are proud to be a part of this state and the history of this state,” he said.

The design was approved by the Arizona Centennial Commission, ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Tim Tait, ADOT’s communications director, said the plates have been distributed to all field offices across the state and will be ready for purchase on Oct. 31 or online through

“If you go back through history, states that turned 100, states that turned 150, states that turned 200 and so on and so forth have all had license plates,” Churchard said. “If they want to support the centennial and they like the design of the flag, I’d encourage them to buy one.”

Elvina Nawaguna-Clemente is a reporter for Cronkite News Service

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