Sunday, November 24, 2013

Before I Die: Candy Chang.

Candy Chang lost someone she loved very much, and through her grief, over time, found clarity. She wanted a daily reminder about what really mattered - and wanted to know what the people around her cared about too - so she painted the side of an abandoned building  in New Orleans with chalk paint, and stenciled "Before I die, I want to ______" on the side, so her neighbors could share their personal aspirations and reflect upon their lives. It was an experiment with tremendous results. The next day the wall was completely filled. 
The statements made me laugh ("swim without holding my nose"), and tear up ("tell my mother I love her" - "be heard")
Candy's project is now an international one, which anyone can access. According to Candy's website: "After receiving many requests, she created a toolkit and the project site to help people make a wall with their community. You can also download all files for free to create your own stencils. Thanks to passionate people around the world, over 400 Before I Die walls have now been created in over 25 languages and over 60 countries, including Kazakhstan, Portugal, Japan, Denmark, Iraq, Argentina, and South Africa. They have been a constant source of inspiration and therapy for Candy. Each wall is unique and reflects the people of that community. Each wall is a tribute to living an examined life. The Before I Die book was just released to celebrate these walls and the stories behind them."

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