Writing’s On the Wall



"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

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"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

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"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

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"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

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"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

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"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

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"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

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"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

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"Before I Die" by Candy Chang

Death can inspire life. Especially in New Orleans, on the corner of Marigny and Burgundy, where the “Before I Die” project has used the specter of urban decay and death to create art and inspire. Using a boarded up house as a canvas, artist Candy Chang transformed a haunting reminder of blight and divestment into a powerful affirmation of human life and imagination.

The project is entitled “Before I Die”, and encourages community members to fill in the blank, “Before I die, I want to _______.” The responses range from, “save a life,” to “learn to play mandolin,” but all are personal dreams, that together comprise a document of the community’s aspirations. “Once the wall is filled, we wash the board with water and start with a clean slate again,” says Chang. Made with only primer, chalkboard paint, stencils, spray paint, and chalk, the project proves that art doesn’t need to be elaborate; it just needs to speak to people.

Unfortunately, the house on which the “Before I Die” installation was mounted was recently sold, so the living art project is looking for a new home. Chang wants to find another location in her native New Orleans, but has been amazed that so many people across the country have requested it in their cities too.

While it’s Chang’s framework that created the project, it’s been people’s participation that has made it successful, and with requests pouring in from other cities, the wall appears endless. (Candy Chang)

  • http://www.facebook.com/freshseth Seth Stephens


  • http://twitter.com/TobiasvRooijen Tobias van Rooijen


  • http://www.facebook.com/novaghost STar Nova Nova

    Before I die.. I want to be Complety Happy and free………!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ehler-Stegmann/1554586732 Ehler Stegmann

    kiss this one girl.

  • Anonymous

    Before I die I want to write what I want to do “Before I die” on that wall..

    Andy WarHOV

  • http://www.facebook.com/captain85 Henderson Vaughan

    Before I Die…I would like to Stop Bullying and Teen Violence because everybody future depends on our Youth .Let’s Help them , pass it on . Captain85

  • http://www.facebook.com/captain85 Henderson Vaughan

    Great job , art is important .

  • http://twitter.com/sosnobbish kia

    Before for I die I hope I’m ready

  • http://profiles.google.com/lifeofbrian08 Brian Clarke

    before i die i want to…go in Space.

  • http://twitter.com/DraganBarisic Dragan Barisic

    Before I die I want to love you again.

  • http://twitter.com/DraganBarisic Dragan Barisic

    Before I die I want to love you again.

  • Anonymous

    before i die i want to bring god back to earth. And i want to make out with shawn in the shower. xoxo

  • http://www.facebook.com/blem85 Brandon Lem

    Before i die i want to Meet Beyonce

  • http://www.facebook.com/AhyashCoutour Steven Ova

    before i die i want all my dreams to come true

  • Anonymous

    Amazing Inspiration! Thanks for this post! Before I die I want to ……. Hmmmm, so many things come to mind!

    -Kev champion

  • Anonymous

    cruise the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France in a bodacious private yacht!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_S36D3STNIW5DZI6ETST6M2TDCU Andrea Cheff

    Before I die I want to meet Jay Z>

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Storm-Child/100002269879181 Storm Child

    Before I die I want the world to know that I the true six finger queen. Full of honor and respect. I am Omer the Barber Braid Stylist of Detroit

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=586050598 Jacky Johnson

    Lpve this post….beautifully written!

  • http://twitter.com/coo1hand1uke Coolhand Luke

    Before I die I want to make Oakland, CA a more loving and hopeful city

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2508409 Lukas Brekke-Miesner

    Thanks for all the love yall!

    Before I die I want to do see strangers respectfully greeting each other in passing. Looking at your phone or mugging is bootsy. You can’t build community in a bubble of apathy, selfishness or fear. Say hello and smile. It will feel good and return dividends

  • http://twitter.com/Oaklandism No Drugs

    well written – @oaklandism

  • http://twitter.com/JAYFANon2thenxt Sarah

    Before I die I want to travel the world and meet Jayonce.

  • http://twitter.com/just_rule Ruslan

    before i die.. i want to find my love

  • http://twitter.com/jai1986 AjiE jAY-z cARteR

    before i die, i want to meet Jay-z

  • http://twitter.com/StopItChar Charlotte

    It’s funny how a simple artistic gesture; can bring life to a community that is plagued with hopelessness by others who don’t understand it, a voice to those who may never see it, and expression to those who may never feel. Since “We are a product of our environment” let’s change it! Hold your city, county, and state elected officials accountable.

  • http://twitter.com/softjunebreeze Stephanie V.

    Dope concept. Great execution.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Teampriscillawilnis Priscilla Wilnis

    This is a very serious concept to me because ,its show me how carefree humanity is using the concept of dead wich is a very serious matter..

    Before i die i wish my spirit to be right with God and make it to heaven. :)

  • Anonymous

    Before I die, I want to know that I will never be forgotten.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=536825142 Stacey Childof Jah Morrison

    Before i day ill do all i can to live for ever

  • http://www.myblackeverything.com Bruce Wayne

    Before I die I want to live.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KWB4BG4IKQPJMZDRMYPFW5RJW4 Mariana

    Before I die I want to …be able to say I made a difference in the world : )

  • Anonymous

    I’m missing it on this one. I don’t like it. It’s looks too somber and it’s not original. I’m not hating on it, not at all, it’s something we all think about and was intended to be a positive for the community. But what is a plan or idea? It’s something we’d like to do before we die right? So we all make/have these everyday.

    I think to be original, to be real, to spark change and positive reaction it should have been the “I’m alive today so I’m gonna………” wall. This encourages real thought, change, positive effects in the community; it sparks the idea that today I am given, but tomorrow I may not be. It sparks immediacy and I think that is what most of us need.

    Just my thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    Before I die I want to Change The Planet Through Hip HOP.

  • Anonymous

    This is great! This actually inspired me for my class that I teach a parenting class at the Lehigh Valley prison. I am going to assigned it to them for homework. ;)

  • Anonymous

    Before I die I want to live to the fullest.

  • http://twitter.com/MissLaPaix Miss Lapaix

    This is AMAZING. Before I die..I MUST Inspire.

  • http://www.facebook.com/meazymr617 Mark CelticgreentilIdie Fortes

    This piece is dope on many levels. good lookin HOV. Before I Die I wanna write on that wall

  • http://www.facebook.com/jean.saget Jean Saget

    This is good living,that how i would like to leave this earth when im gone !!!

  • http://twitter.com/cheleny Michelle

    This is a really inspiring project.

  • http://www.facebook.com/traceypq Tracey Picquet

    Before I die I want to do the God well

  • http://www.facebook.com/traceypq Tracey Picquet

    Before I die I want to do God well

  • Anonymous

    Before I die I want to see the end of Human Traficking

  • Anonymous

    Before I die I want to do a reading for GP !!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/paulmarcusb Marcus Braithwaite

    I won’t die!. We only die because we think we have too. Well maybe, we’ll see.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WI5QOHDRJGO3QQOL75DD6GVKUA Whozdat

    Before I Die…I want to peace and happiness to all my loved ones.

  • http://twitter.com/JeesSantos Jessica Santos

    Before I die I want to love you and be loved by you

  • http://twitter.com/michael_wtf Michael Billingslea

    Before I die I want to feel something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511413349 Tianyu Tang

    Before I die I want to love and give back to people who loved me and helped me.

  • Denise Waters


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_D4JDU4ASDCPXTIYGYBQRBVGKSY Kelly

    Before I die, I want to find a cure for cancer. This disease is claiming so many lives.

  • Anonymous

    I want to help all the young souls reach prosperity..Everyone has worth, sometimes they need a loving soul to guide them to it……

  • http://twitter.com/ealvarezpuertas Elisa AlvarezPuertas

    Love this picture and the concept. Can I share it on my blog if I link to you?
    Blessings, Elisa

  • http://www.facebook.com/danl420us Daniel Lim

    Before I die… I want no regrets in life

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