An Artistic Bucket List

The abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood was a wreck. But artist Candy Chang decided to give it new life, by turning it into a giant chalkboard and stenciling the words “Before I die I want to…” onto the side, then encouraging people to write their own end to the sentence. By the next day, it was entirely filled — a giant, artistic bucket list filled with hopes and dreams.

Since that start, “Before I Die” murals have been installed in more than twenty countries. This summer, one came to Sonny Lawson Park, where it was installed by Community Coordinating District No. 1, which is working on a new vision for the area. That mural moved to the corner of Colfax Avenue and Bannock Street in December; it will stay there until early February. “It spurs conversation wherever you put it,” says Dan Rowland, spokesman for Arts & Venues Denver. “We have to basically clear it off every day; it gets filled up.”

Filled with what? “A lot of inspirational stuff and fun stuff,” Rowland says, adding that families often spend time by the art, doing a little daydreaming and deciding what message they want to leave.

To celebrate the piece and also give people another chance to see the revamped McNichols Building in Civic Center Park, the city will hold a reception there for “Before I Die” from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s free and open to the public; for more information, go to www.artsandvenuesdenver.com.
Wed., Jan. 9, 5-8 p.m., 2013

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun