Wednesday, July 17, 2013

History of the Original Before I Die Wall

A woman in New Orleans, Candy Chang, started a community art project after going through a 

sudden, personal loss. After losing someone she loved very much, she thought about death a 

lot. This helped to clarify her life, the people she wanted to be with, and the things she wanted 

to do. However, she struggled to maintain this perspective and she wondered if others felt the 

same way. With help from friends, she painted the side of an abandoned house in her 

neighborhood with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with the sentence: 

"Before I Die I Want To ____________" Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, 

reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in a public space.

By the next day, the wall was bursting with handwritten responses and it kept growing. She 

understood her neighbors in new and enlightening ways and the wall reminded her that she 

was not alone as she worked to make sense of her life.  Her story was featured as a Ted Talk. 

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