I live in the Edgewater area in Chicago which is right next to Rogers Park which is where the prestigious Loyola University resides. And one of the most rewarding things I get from being in this area is the ability to see that sense of community and the imagination that comes from being in a small college town like area. I have the privilege of seeing students protest for what they believe in, help with building the agricultural community in our area and one of my favorite, the students artistic imagination. But what's really rewarding is when this type of community attracts others with great ideas that can hopefully spread like wildfire to change things for the better.
As you walk, ride, or drive down Granville street going towards Broadway in Edgewater, you may notice on the south side of the street a wall with the words "Before I Die.." written on it. You can't help but see it. It's written in white chalk on a black background. It is something that will definitely grab your attention.
The Before I Die project is a public art project that invites you to share your hopes and dreams. It was started by artist Candy Chang who is not only an artist but a designer and a urban planner. With the desire to improve her community as well as others she set out to transform neighborhoods into public spaces that would convey the communities stories of hopes, fears, and dreams that could be a stepping stone to better lives. It started in New Orleans, has began in other cities and countries and with much success, it has landed here in Chicago. Chang has created other fill-in-the-blank projects like I Wish this Was and Neighborland and projects such as Looking for Love Again. All valuable tools that can make your community a voice and a place with memories.
So if you get a chance stop by and have a bite at m.henrietta's, Summer Noodle and Rice or Pete's Pizzeria & Bakehouse and then take a stroll down Granville and fill-in-the-blank and let us know what your hopes, fears, dreams and wants are.