Cleveland Public Library Asks: "What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?"

Interactive exhibit offers visitors the chance to share their hopes and dreams.

Last month, Cleveland Public Library (CPL) began offering visitors a unique way to make their voices heard and announce their life’s hopes. CPL’s Main Library is now featuring a wall chalkboard installation of the Before I Die project, which invites passersby to fill in the blank for the prompt, “Before I die, I want to ________.”

CPL joined communities in New York, Memphis, Milwaukee, Little Rock, and Monterrey, Mexico to celebrate “A Day of Walls” on November 5. The event coincided with the release of the Before I Die book, which features photos and stories from Before I Die projects around the world. CPL will periodically photograph the installation and share the results online.

“The Before I Die project provides community members the chance to pause from their busy lives, reflect on their dreams, and share those aspirations in a public way,” said Felton Thomas, director of CPL. “CPL has a strong tradition of displaying art that inspires contemplation and participation, and we can’t wait to see what the community has to say.”

Before I Die is a global public art project originally conceived after the loss of a loved one by artist Candy Chang, whose first “canvas” for the project was an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood. More than 350 walls have been created in over 25 languages and 60 countries, including Kazakhstan, Portugal, Japan, Denmark, Iraq, Argentina and South Africa. The project has been featured on NBC, CNN, TED, and Oprah Magazine.

The exhibit will run through January 31, 2014. For more information, please visit or

Cathy Poilpre

Cathy Poilpre handles marketing and communications for the Cleveland Public Library.

Volume 3, Issue 12, Posted 2:04 PM, 12.05.2013