First assembled at Point Park in Parkersburg, the “Before I Die” wall recently made the voyage across the river for the August Merchants & Artists walk in downtown Marietta. With the phrase “Before I die, I want to…” written at the top, this large chalkboard wall served as a communal bucket list of sorts. ‘Before I Die’ is a global art project that invites viewers to reflect on their lives and share their own personal aspirations in a public space. Walls have been constructed in communities all around the world, each one as unique as the people that participate.

This project began when New Orleans artist Candy Chang lost someone she loved and decided to remind herself, and her neighbors, of what was really important. With a few gallons of chalkboard paint, Candy turned the side of an abandoned building into canvas for collecting dreams, wishes and goals. Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in a public medium. Immediately, the wall filled up — and soon, Candy began receiving requests from people in other cities who wanted to bring the idea home to their communities.

Our wall here in the Mid-Ohio Valley was constructed by a team of volunteers from #IMLIVING, and has so far visited two locations in our valley. The team was amazed by the amount of responses they received — the wall is so full now that it’s almost difficult to read.

“When we put it up, we didn’t know what was going to happen. It was kind of an experiment just to see,” remarked Jorge Tecunolmos, the found of #IMLIVING.

Although some chose to write something funny, others thoughtfully reflected on their lives and what they wanted to do. These are powerful responses written from a wide array of people during various moments in their lives. Some of the responses include:

“Before I die I want to love myself.”

“Before I die I want to see my son’s illness be cured.”

“Before I die I want to eat at Golden Corral.”

“Before I die I want to make more money than Oprah.”

Although the responses are not permanent, there is a significance in adding your sentiment to the wall. It can be a very personal thing to tell the world what you desire most to accomplish in your lifetime. It can also be quite freeing, and maybe it’s just the spark of motivation you needed to keep yourself on track. So – what would you write?

For more information on #IMLIVING, visit their website!