How I Keep Looking Up

An animated graphic of calligraphy in yellow waving in the breeze against a cloudy blue sky with six small flags floating across the screen. Text: How I Keep Looking Up: Christine Wong Yap & Encore Community Services. Unfurling on Flag Day. June 14 at 11am. 45th and Broadway, Times Square, NYC.

How I Keep Looking Up is a social practice project and public artwork. I developed it as a public artist-in-residence at Times Square Arts.

I engaged 11 seniors through Encore Community Services, a comprehensive senior service organization serving Times Square, Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton, and Midtown. I invited the seniors to design flags that commemorated the sources of their resilience. Some designs are by the seniors, some are collaborations with me. We hired stitchers from the local theater community via the Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764 IATSE to sew the flags. The 11 flags are flying on custom, matching flagpoles and bases in Times Square. Statements by each senior artist appear in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Braille (English), below a visual and tactile graphic of the flag design.

How I Keep Looking Up was on view from Flag Day (June 14) through August 9, 2021 in Times Square, on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets in New York City.

Credit: Christine Wong Yap with Encore Community Services, How I Keep Looking Up, 2021, social practice, flags, flagpoles, signs, dimensions variable.

Contributing Seniors: Daniel Garland, José Rosabal, Karen Edka Makower, Marjorie Deborah Conn, Martha Chavez, NMS, Peter Gallinari, Rhonda Williams, RM Gallinari, Snoopy’s Mom (Carol), Z/C.

Stitchers: Aislinn Smith, Gaby Cryan, Sandra Frye, Sarah Highers, Tian Thoon, Victor Carvajal.

Special thanks to Jean Cooney, Brittni Collins, Anjelic Owens, and everyone at Times Square Arts and Times Square Alliance, including the public safety and sanitation teams. Huge thanks to Jennifer Asquino, Yocastia Jimenez, and Marissa Macebuh at Encore Community Services. Thank you to all the seniors and stitchers.

Flagpole fabrication by IDEKO. Thanks to Ed Pollio, Allen Goodman, Rodney Rocha, Raymond Robinson, Lucas Rusinak, Fitsalbert Brown, José Orozco Puchalt, Joe Cleary, Christian Mauldin, Rob Bruni, Mike Gonzalez, Anthony Pandolfino, and Charlie Richards for fabrication and overnight installation.
Signage printing, and Braille and tactile graphic translation by Touch Graphics.

Copyediting: Sasha Lamb.
Graphic design/Animation: Panny Chayapumh.
Photos: All photos by Maria Baranova except installation view by Mike Vitelli for Times Square Arts.
Video: César Martínez Barba for Times Square Arts.