“Before I die I want to _______”

I don’t have a formal list of things I’d like to do before I die. But if I did, I like the idea of creating one that looks like Candy Chang’s. An artist “who makes cities more comfortable for people,” she has created a interactive public piece that asks what is important to you in the time that you may have left.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you. With help from old and new friends, Candy turned the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans into a giant chalkboard where residents can write on the wall and remember what is important to them. Stenciled with the sentence “Before I die I want to _______”, the wall became a space where we could learn the hopes and dreams of the people around us.”

“From the funny and creative to the thoughtful and heartbreaking, the reaction to the wall was more than Candy could have ever imagined. Before I die I want… to sing for millions, to see my daughter graduate, to eat a salad with an alien, to straddle the International Date Line, to cook a souffle, to love and be loved, to abandon all insecurities, to be completely myself…”

The images – of the building, the neighbours, and of the endless messages – are incredibly touching. Each makes me wonder what thoughts went into them. What lives are being lived behind these goals, wishes, and dreams?

But it doesn’t end in just one neighbourhood. “After receiving many requests from people around the world, she and her Civic Center colleagues created a Before I Die Toolkit to help you create a wall with your community.”

Too cool! I’d love to see one of these in my area. In fact, I can think of the perfect wall for it. I wonder… :)

“Thanks to your passion, this participatory public art project is currently expanding to cities around the world, including Amsterdam, Portsmouth, Querétaro, Almaty, San Diego, Lisbon, Brooklyn, and beyond – see other walls on the project site! You can also take a piece of the dream home with you with a limited edition painting and submit your dreams on the project site.”

Find out more about Candy’s project here.