"It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you. With help from friends and neighbors, 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. Before I Die is an interactive public art project that invites people to share their hopes and dreams in public space. Painted with chalkboard paint and stenciled with the sentence “Before I die I want to _______”, the wall became an enlightening way to get to know your neighbors and discover the hopes and aspirations of the people around you. It’s about improving our physical spaces and our personal well-being. It’s a question that changed Candy after she lost someone she loved very much, and she believes the design of our public spaces can better reflect what matters to us as a community and as individuals.
The responses have ranged from the funny and creative to the thoughtful and heartbreaking: Before I die I want to… sing for millions, see my daughter graduate, eat a salad with an alien, see the leaves change many times, be someone’s cavalry, straddle the International Date Line, cook a souffle, hold her one more time, make it in the hip hop, help numerous children, see what I’m like as an old man, tell my mother I love her, make peace with Ohio, abandon all insecurities, be completely myself, evaporate into the light… The project was featured in Oprah Magazine and NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams, and The Atlantic called it “one of the most creative community projects ever.”
We know we're loving the idea, it makes us think of the lists of things we want to do. What would you like to see or achieve before you die?
– Text and Images from the Artist's Website Candy Chang