BOSTON (CBS) – “Before I die I want to….” You fill in the blank. It’s a question people in Roxbury are answering on a giant chalkboard mural that went up just this week.
It’s the brainchild of a woman named Candy Chang, who painted the first “Before I die” wall on an abandoned building in New Orleans. Since then, they’ve popped up across the world, always in blighted neighborhoods, dressing up sites that are considered eyesores.
The latest one went up at the corner of Washington and Bartlett Streets over an old MBTA stop. ”It’s been abandoned for so long,” explains Michael Chavez, who’s with YouthBuild Boston. That’s a community youth volunteer group that helped create and install the mural. It consists of wood panels covered in chalkboard paint and hundreds of blank lines. There are baskets of chalk attached for people to fill them in. “It’s something that a lot of people don’t think about when you’re in the day-to-day rush and you say, ‘Well what is my bucket list?’”
Within the first 24 hours, it was nearly full. “Ride an elephant”, it says. “Take a trip to France”, “have a safer neighborhood”, “find peace”, “get serenity”, “retire”, “own and island”, “jump from a plane”, are among some highlights.
“It’s like an anonymous truth ball,” says Sadiki Lestrade, who lives nearby. He stopped and wrote “Spread the idea of going to Mars.”
“I had like 100 things going in my head, and this one just seemed like the one to write,” he explained. He knows it could wash away with the next rain storm. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll have something else,” he says.