Before I Die by Candy Chang

What do you want to do before you die?

That’s what artist and designer Candy Chang wanted to find out from her neighbors. But instead of just asking them, she decided to create a public art project, called Before I Die.

In her New Orleans neighborhood, Candy turned an abandoned, graffiti-ed house into something inspiring. She covered an entire side of the house with giant chalkboards with the words stenciled “Before I die I want to _________.” She then left pieces of chalk for residents and passers-by to fill in the most important things they want to do in their lifetimes.

“It’s a question that has changed me in the last year, and I believe the design of our public spaces can better reflect what’s important to us as residents and as human beings. The responses and stories from passersby while we were installing it have already hit me hard in the heart,” she says.

Once the wall has been filled, she washes the board with water and starts all over again. But before cleaning the slate, she documents all the responses so that she can collect them in a book. The project is now funded by the Black Rock Arts Foundation.


Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.