Before I Die…

The Black Rock Arts Foundation proudly collaborates on the installation of artist Candy Chang’s interactive mural, Before I Die… , at two locations in downtown Reno. These two murals will be on display, for the benefit of the community, for at least six months.

Before I Die… by Candy Chang
Sierra St and Island Avenue
and at
Apex Products at 415 East Fourth Street
Reno, Nevada
May 20, 2012 – February, 2013
8′ H x 40′ W

Before I Die… by Candy Chang

About the Project

Chang’s Before I Die… murals are approximately 40 feet wide by eight feet tall. Walls are painted with black chalkboard paint. Stenciled on the walls is the phrase “Before I Die I want to __________,” dozens of times. Using the chalk provided, people may write in their response to the prompt. The resulting completed phrases vary greatly, reflecting the diversity of the participating individuals. The phrases are playful, somber, hopeful, healing, joyful, introspective, humorous, moving, and everywhere in between, but all hold the commonality of poignant honesty.

Before I Die… is an interactive public art project that transforms neglected spaces into public venues for constructive conversation and empowering self-expression. The evolving nature of this piece gradually reveals the hopes and dreams of the community. The piece emerges slowly over time, beginning as a small collection of individual responses, but quickly becoming a visual representation of many voices, all expressing very human hopes and concerns.

“This is the sixth art installation to come to Reno through the collaboration of the Civic Art Program of the Black Rock Arts Foundation, the affiliate non-profit art organization of Burning Man, and The City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission. Through their funding, generous support by the Sierra Arts Foundation and collaborations with the Nevada Museum of Art and the Black Rock Design Institute, Before I Die… supports the mission of the Reno Arts program to involve its citizens in the community’s cultural life and encourage artistic excellence,” said Maria Partridge, Reno project liaison for BRAF and Advisory board member.

“We believe the exhibition of Before I Die… in two different locations in downtown Reno will serve the community by enhancing civic space through the temporary transformation of a chain link fence into an interactive community art project.”

Crimson Rose
Board Member for the Black Rock Arts Foundation and Art Director for Burning Man.

Before I Die at Apex Products in Reno, Nevada. Photo by Mark Hammon

Artists Talk

To inaugurate the Before I Die… in Reno project, Candy Chang spoke to a public audience at the Nevada Museum of Art about her work, her life experiences, and the meaning of the project. The lecture was tailored specifically to the audience to the Nevada Museum of Art, and to the themes emphasized at the Center for Art and Environment.

Black Rock Arts Foundation and Black Rock Design Institute Presents:

Candy Chang Before I Die…
May 17, 2012, 5:00 P.M – 7:00 P.M.
Nevada Museum of Art
160 West Liberty Street
Reno, NV 89501

BRAF Board Member, Crimson Rose, writing on the Before I Die mural at the Sierra St location. Photo by Mark Hammon

About the Site

In Reno, Nevada, in 2007, BRAF Advisory Board Member Maria Partridge sought out the owner of an empty lot in the downtown area with the intention of developing it into a new venue for large-scale works of art. BRAF worked with Reno’s vibrant community of Burning Man enthusiasts, local businesses and City officials to redevelop the parcel into an inviting public space featuring rotating exhibitions. This art park became a popular performance venue and community gathering space, and has hosted such celebrated works from the Burning Man event as Spire of Fire, by Steve Atkins and Eric Smith,Duel Nature, by Kate Raudenbush, Celtic Forest, by Laura Kimpton, and The Mangrove, a collection of works by five different artists collectives.

Before I Die… further develops BRAF’s programming in Reno, venturing it into a new realm of interactivity and advancing its potential for personal expression and social change.

About the Artist

Candy Chang is an artist, designer, and urban planner who is passionate about art’s potential to improve both the neighborhoods and the personal well being of individuals of a community. Chang has installed Before I Die… walls around the world, in cities including Amsterdam, Portsmouth, Querétaro, Almaty, San Diego, Lisbon, Brooklyn and New Orleans. Chang received a grant from BRAF for her New Orleans wall. Chang’s work has been profiled on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams, The New York Times, the Atlantic Magazine, Oprah Magazine, GOOD Magazine, Fast Company, MS NBC and the New York Post, among others.


This is BRAF’s sixth public art installation produced in collaboration with the Reno community.

This project was funded in part by a grant from The City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission.