Last week, I blogged about
how Detroit-based photographer Sarah Sharp is giving a not entirely uncommon eyesore in her city, unceremoniously trashed couches, a bit of artistic loving — while supporting urban gardening efforts — through a beautifully haunting calendar project
. Just more than 1,000 miles away in New Orleans — an on-the-rebound city that, like Detroit, has received its fair share of hard knocks in recent years — artist/designer/urban planner Candy Chang
has given another not entirely uncommon eyesore, an abandoned home, a new lease on life through the “Before I Die
For “Before I Die,” Chang has transformed (with the consent of the property owner, the neighborhood association's blight committee, the Historic District Landmarks Commission, and other entities) the side of an abandoned home on the corner of Marigny and Burgundy streets into a giant chalkboard bucket list of sorts, where passersby are invited to share all the things that they’d like to see and do before biting the proverbial dust.
It’s easy to get caught in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you. With support from old and new friends, I turned the side of an abandoned house in my neighborhood
into a giant chalkboard to invite my neighbors to remember and share what is important to them. ‘Before I Die’ transforms neglected spaces into constructive ones where we can learn the hopes and aspirations of the people around us. It’s about improving both our physical spaces and our individual well-being.
Since the abandoned home at 900 Marigny Street
was first transformed into a public chalkboard by Chang back in February, the "Before I Die" project has been a tremendous success, receiving a fair amount of press and becoming somewhat of a minor tourist attraction. According to Chang, similar installations in other cities, a project website, and a kit with a how-to guide and stencil are all in the works. Somewhat sadly, Chang announced on her website in early April that the home was purchased and the new owners will soon begin renovations. She explains:
Time to evaporate into the light… I knew that this project on this house in my neighborhood would come to an end at some point, and I couldn’t ask for a better way. Someone bought the house and, to comply with city regulations on blight, must begin renovations soon. For the record, they are fans of the project and have done everything they can to let it ride before turning this building into a home again after years of collecting dust.
However, as of May 5, the renovations have been delayed and with permission from the home’s new owners, the project is continuing for the time being. So if you’re a resident of New Orleans, a visiting pirate (see below), or are simply passing through the area, be sure to stop by 900 Marigny Street
and pick up a piece of chalk and get thinking ...
What would you write?