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Candy Chang Launches 'Before I Die' Book at Ogden

by Cheryl Castjohn

Candy Chang’s Before I Die project culminates Thursday night at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art with the launch of a new book based on the endeavor. The artist will be on hand from 6 to 8pm signing books for her fans and visiting the “Before I Die” wall with them.


The signing will happen concurrently with Jim White’s Ogden After Hours performance inside, but in classic New Orleans fashion, the closest friends will be visiting on the porch with. Chang, free of charge. Launch party attendees will be treated to a special $5 discount on the book and a visit with a woman who has come to represent a beacon of hope for New Orleans.


Hot on the heels of her November 5 “Day of Walls” that saw new installations constructed in 15 more cities, Chang’s project opens discourse among neighbors on the power of hope throughout these other fortunate communities. 


The project began when the artist painted the wall of an abandoned Marigny house at the corner of Marigny and Burgundy Sts. with chalkboard paint and stenciled the open phrase, “Before I die I want to…” unleashing a torrent of sentiments numerous enough to fill the side of the house within a day. The pictures spread and the idea spread, launching walls all over the world. Since the first chalkboard was installed, the proejct has expanded to 60 countries. 


Along with the book launch, the Ogden Museum is installing New Orleans' latest "Before I Die" on the institution's exterior, and all are invited to leave their thoughts just like it was 2011 all over again.


The event will also feature a satellite bar out front where launchers can mingle and enjoy one another’s company, in the community-building spirit of Chang’s urban projects.

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