Despite overcast skies and rain, White Plains offered up a bit of sunshine Monday afternoon with the installation of an inspirational interactive art project at Renaissance Plaza on Main Street between Court Street and Mamaroneck Avenue.
Before I Die is a global public art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in public space. The original wall was created by artist Candy Chang on an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans after she lost someone she loved. Since then, more than 100 walls have been created in over 10 languages and in over 30 countries, including Kazakhstan, Argentina, Korea, Italy, Australia, Germany, South Africa, and in numerous cities throughout the United States.
White Plains resident Pamela Del Balzo brought the idea to White Plains Mayor Tom Roach last fall. “He was immediately interested,” Del Balzo said.
Del Balzo, who also works in White Plains said: “I often pass the same people on the street, see the same faces every day, yet we never interact. This project is about making connections.”
Mayor Roach said, “The City of White Plains decided to bring the project here because we wanted to create a space where everyone could come together in a positive way, as well as showcase the vibrancy of our city and the strength of our community.”
The City Department of Public Works created the temporary “wall” on which the phrase, “Before I Die I Want To…” is stenciled numerous times. The public is invited to take up a piece of chalk and complete the sentence in their own way, expressing their dreams, their goals and their positive thoughts. Participation is open to all. People throughout the world have actively and enthusiastically participated, helping to create numerous walls that are inspiring and heartfelt to read.
So, as you stroll through the Plaza during your lunch hour, or after you get your latte, don’t forget to stop at the Before I Die wall, add your own thoughts, and read those of others in our community.
The project will be up for about a month and will be monitored to prevent abuse. The intention is for people to share their really big ideas and dreams. It is not for the mundane. So, go ahead and take a crack at it. Who knows, maybe expressing your thoughts in writing is the first step in actually making them happen.