Candy Chang is a cool chick. After losing someone very close to her, she took some time to reevaluate her life, determining what was important, what was not. As she sought clarity, she started a project on a whim- painting an abandoned building in her neighborhood of New Orleans.
With chalkboard paint and stencils, she created the Header: Before I die... Next, she added spaces for the neighbors and passersby to fill in their deepest desires.
It was just an experiment and Candy had no expectations. But the neighborhood responded in a big way, filling up the wall by the next day. Candy, "People's responses made me laugh out loud and they made me tear up. They consoled me during my toughtest times. I understood my neighbors in new and enlightening ways, and the wall reminded me that I'm not alone as I try to make sense of my life."
As Candy learned, social experiments such as this can be very powerful and meaningful. As we all share similar worries, fears and dreams, it's comforting to be reminded that we're not alone. This project has become so successful, over 300 Before I die walls have been created in over 50 countries.
With such a strong response, Candy was quick (and smart) to create a toolkit for others to start a wall in their own neighborhood. (the stencils can also be downloaded for free) Candy has started over two dozen more social projects to reach out and connect with communities. Peruse here, and may you be inspired.
Photos: Candychang.com Content: Sweet Peach