^
Keep Westword Free
4

Before I Die creator Candy Chang visits the Denver version of her piece

Before I Die, an art installation that encourages people to create a communal bucket list, has been standing in the northwest corner of Civic Center Park since January -- and yesterday, Candy Chang, its creator, came for a visit.

The New Orleans artist first conceived of Before I Die after she lost someone she loved; after going through a self-described "period of grief," she says she wanted to do something to beautify her neighborhood and inspire people. She focused her efforts on a nearby abandoned house.

See also: - 100 Colorado Creatives: Terri Bell, artist/gallerist at tbellphotographic - Paul Michel will unleash The Fanciest Tiger at Fancy Tiger's Civilized Living tomorrow - Artist Ellina Kevorkian on taking the academia out of art and growing up a Gilman Street punk

With a simple stencil and some chalkboard paint, she painted a rectangular box on the side of the house and stenciled "Before I Die" in that box, followed by an ellipsis. Then she added eighty blank lines for people to fill in with chalk. "I had no idea what to expect," Chang says. But when she walked by a few days later, "I was blown away when all eighty prompts were filled out and spilling into the margins."

And it's only grown from there. One hundred fifty Before I Die murals have now been installed around the world, in ten languages and 35 countries. Denver's installation arrived last September, and was first erected in Sonny Lawson Park under the aegis of the Community Coordinating District that is focusing on that part of town.

In December, Arts & Venues Denver relocated Before I Die to Civic Center Park. "We wanted to let the passersby and all walks of life to participate in art and humanize public space," says Jorgen Jensen, a member of the Community Coordinating District board.

Chang, who hadn't seen the Denver version before yesterday, describes Before I Die as one of the best experiences of her life. But there's more to come for this artist: She says she wants to write a bedtime story and revive a ghost town before she dies.

Before I Die should remain at Civic Center until next month.


I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.