Artist Candy Chang’s website shares, “Before I Die is a participatory public art project that invites people to contemplate death, reflect on life, and share their personal aspirations in public.” Chang created the original wall on an abandoned home in her New Orleans neighborhood—it was an attempt to relieve her grief after a big loss. Little did she know the attention the wall would draw.
In response, Chang created a project site to teach others how to create the participatory walls. Now, over 2,000 walls have been created in over 70 countries. “Revealing the community’s longings, anxieties, joys, and struggles,” the website explains, “[T]he project explores how public space can cultivate self-examination and empathy among neighbors and compassionately prepare us for death and grief.”
In short, the board creates community, and that’s exactly what John Fugo, developer of Veranda, had in mind when he decided to build the board at this modern commercial center. Having heard the Before I Die story on NPR, John knew it was a perfect match for the unique community the design at Veranda was intended to develop.
Once Veranda opened, the board immediately filled with desires like,
“I want to see the world and meet people.”
“I want to laugh and love a lot!”
“I want to discover my career.”
Or as silly as…
“I want to see my brother shower more often.”
“I want to have all the Shopkins in the world.”
Regardless of the words or their sentiments, it is the action that counts. It’s the community it builds and the response the board solicits. Stop by Veranda. Try one of our restaurants, enlist one of our services.
But make sure you participate in a global public art project, uniting strangers and friends alike, calling upon their dreams and hopes.