Being Present (2016). Organza, monofilament, fiberglass, steel. 96 x 120 x 24 in.

Being Present (2016). Organza, monofilament, fiberglass, steel. 96 x 120 x 24 in.


ThriveNYC (headed by NYC's First Lady Chirlane McCray) and Tumblr hosted a series of public events in all five boroughs to promote mental health awareness. I was asked to come up with a portable installation embodying their joint mission of open, positive dialogue. The piece would travel to each borough as part of the events, and culminate in a two-week installation at the First Street Green Park.

There were many requirements: it had to be weatherproof; able to withstand strong winds; easy for one or two persons to assemble, disassemble and transport multiple times; and it had to meet NYC Parks' safety requirements. It also had to be big enough to serve as a fun photo op, but small enough to fit indoors in case of inclement weather.

My resulting creation was inspired generally by Tibetan prayer flags: it is believed that as the wind blows through the colorful flags, the wishes vested in them are spread across the world. We decided on the bow as a modern twist on the flag, to represent positivity, hope, and the act of giving. The rainbow of colors symbolize the range of emotions; it is also an immediately recognizable symbol for acceptance.

The event series was shared and publicized on Tumblr and the NYC Department of Health's blogs, and received press mentions on Artnet, NYU News, and the First Street Green Park blog.