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"Before I Die"

A grieving artist inspired a community to reflect on and share their life goals.

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After losing someone she loved and experiencing deep depression, artist Candy Chang created an interactive wall on an abandoned house in her neighborhood to create an anonymous place to help restore perspective and share intimately with neighbors while remaining an introvert. After receiving permission, she painted the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with a grid of 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 public space.

It was all an experiment and she didn’t know what to expect. By the next day, the wall was full of responses and it kept growing: Before I die I want to… sing for millions, plant a tree, hold her one more time, straddle the International Date Line, see my daughter graduate, eat more everything, abandon all insecurities, be completely myself…  She understood her neighbors in new and enlightening ways, and the wall reminded her that she’s not alone as she tries to make sense of her life.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

How might we help people reflect on and celebrate their lives as part of confronting death?

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Photo of Morgan Robison

Saw one of these in Asheville, NC.  It stopped me in my tracks. How powerful it is to surface these thoughts before one feels as though there is no time left. Really pushes us to dream and do. 

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