Jul 5, 2012

The “Before I Die” Project

the first location of the before i die street project by candy chang in new orleans on an abandoned building

Copyright © Civic Center

 

When Candy Chang lost someone she loved very much, the experience helped clarify her life but she struggled to maintain perspective. She wanted to know what was important to the people around her.

 

before i die street art project in new orleans on side of abandoned building

Copyright © Civic Center

 

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 and stenciled it with the sentence “Before I die I want to _______.” so anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in a public space.

 

close up of chalk holder and chalk sticks for before i die project in new orleans

Photograph via Candy Chang

 

 

mother and daughter writing on the before i die wall in new orleans

Copyright © Civic Center

 

 

man in pirate hat writing on before i die wall

Copyright © Civic Center

 

By the next day the wall was entirely filled out and it kept growing. People’s hopes and dreams made her laugh out loud, tear up, and feel consolation during her own tough times. The wall transformed a neglected space into a constructive one where we can restore perspective, remember we are not alone, and understand our neighbors in new and enlightening ways.

 

close up of before i die wall with peoples submissions

Photograph via Candy Chang

 

 

close up of before i die wall with peoples entries

Photograph via Candy Chang

 

 

close up of before i die wall with peoples contributions

Photograph via Candy Chang

 

The original installation was created February 2011 (at the corner of Marigny St and Burgundy St in New Orleans) and lasted until October 2011. At that point the property was purchased and the house is currently being renovated and turned into a home again. The project has since spread worldwide and walls have been created by communities in Mexico, the Netherlands, Australia, Kazakhstan, Canada, and cities all over America and beyond.

 

before i die goes wordwide and in multiple languages

Copyright © Civic Center

 

 

standing on a bike to reach top of before i die footprint to write her submission

Copyright © Civic Center

 

 

before i die project on the beach

Copyright © Civic Center

 

The project is about remembering what is important to you, creating a public space for contemplation, and reimagining how our public spaces can better reflect what matters to us as a community and as individuals.

 

before i die i want to street art project by candy chang 14 The Before I Die Project

Photograph via Candy Chang

 

 

before i die i want to street art project by candy chang 15 The Before I Die Project

Copyright © Civic Center

 

Candy Chang is an artist, designer, urban planner, and co-founder of Civic Center, a civic design studio in New Orleans. Additional installation assistance by Kristina Kassem, Alan Williams, Cory Klemmer, Anamaria Vizcaino, James Reeves, Alex Vialou, Sean Knowlton, Carolina Caballero, Earl Carlson, and Gary Hustwit.

 

before i die i want to street art project by candy chang 5 The Before I Die Project

Copyright © Civic Center

 

 

before i die i want to street art project by candy chang 10 The Before I Die Project

Photograph via Candy Chang

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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intearctive street art painted kids on wall riding real bike armenian street george town malaysia ernest zacharevic 8 The Before I Die Project

 

 

 

 

mirrored building art installation interactive france leandro erlich 1 The Before I Die Project

 

 

 

 

white room covered in stickers by kids yayoi kusama obliteration room 9 The Before I Die Project

 

 

 

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