November 7, 2011
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. Before I Die transformed a neglected space into a constructive one to help improve our neighborhood and our personal well-being. It’s a question that changed her over the last year after she lost someone she loved very much.
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… After receiving many requests from people around the world, she and her Civic Center colleagues created aBefore I Die Toolkit to help you create a wall with your community. 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. Together, we can change the way our public spaces are designed to better reflect what is important to us as a community and as individuals.
2011, Chalkboard paint, Stencils and spray paint, 41′ x 8′. New Orleans, LA, Self-initiated with permission from the property owner, residents of the block, the neighborhood association’s blight committee, the Historic District Landmarks Commission, the Arts Council, and the City Planning Commission. Studio assistance: Kristina Kassem, Installation assistance: Kristina Kassem, Alan Williams, Cory Klemmer, Anamaria Vizcaino, James Reeves, Alex Vialou, Sean Knowlton, Carolina Caballero, Earl Carlson, and Gary Hustwit. Concurrently installed in East/West Galleries. With generous support from the Black Rock Arts Foundation.