Before I die I want to…write on a wall

Our wall is installed on the grounds of the McNicols Civic Center, corner of Colfax Avenue and Bannock Street.
Candy Chang’s “Before I die’ wall first appeared in New Orleans in 2011. Today there are over 75 walls installed in cities and countries around the world: San Francisco, Scotland, Hong Kong, Paraguay, New Zealand, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Raleigh, N.C., Spain, Canada, Des Moines, Australia, Italy, Peru, Argentina, New York City.
 Everyone is invited to pick up a piece of chalk, add reflections on your life and share your personal aspirations in a public space. Read more about Candy Chang and how this beautiful art project began below.
Denver’s Before I die wall was brought to the city through a partnership of Arts & Venues, Community Coordinating District, Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design and Denver Design Build, LLC

What is it?

Before I Die is an interactive public art project that invites people to share their hopes and dreams in public space. After artist and urban planner Candy Chang lost someone she loved very much, she painted the wall 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 ______.” Passersby can use chalk to write directly on the wall. The project has since spread worldwide and walls have been created by communities in Mexico, the Netherlands, Australia, Kazakhstan, and beyond. 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.

Who made it?

Candy Chang. She’s an artist, designer, urban planner, and co-founder of Civic Center, a civic design studio in New Orleans. She created the wall in her neighborhood in New Orleans after she lost someone she loved very much. Read her full bio here. 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.


Made with primer, chalkboard paint, stencils, spray paint, chalk. 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. With generous support from the Black Rock Arts Foundation.


The original installation was created February 2011 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. Happy ending! The project continues to grow, with new walls being made around the world every month.


The first installation was created on an abandoned house in Candy’s neighborhood in New Orleans, at the corner of Marigny St and Burgundy St (900 Marigny Street).

What’s Next?

After receiving many requests from people around the world, Candy and her Civic Center colleagues created this project website and a Before I Die Toolkit to help people make a wall with their community and share their wall online. A book about the project will be published by St. Martin’s Press and released in 2013. Learn more here. (2012)

TERMS OF USE: Selected high-resolution photographs and portions of the written material included here may be included in original print/web content to be created by the licensee. The portrait of the licensor, Candy Chang, shall be used as a positive example and appear unaltered in this and any derivative works. Unless stated otherwise, the acknowledgement beneath the screenshot shall read: “Copyright © Civic Center” and, where feasible, links to http://candychang.comand


The Before I Die presskit contains the complete project overview and history and a selection of high resolution photographs. Due to the large photo sizes, the package comes in at around 30MB. Download the Press Kit here. To download an individual hi-res photo, click the image you would like and scroll down to the download link.

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