The Bucket List Project

The Bucket List Project
In an effort to get back into the swing of things at Detention, I went in search of inspiring artwork to help me plan my first project of the year. Well, I think I hit the jackpot.
We’ll start the school year by studying urban planner Candy Chang’s installation project entitled “Before I Die.” She began this project in New Orleans shortly after losing a close loved one. Chang essentially create a giant chalkboard on the side of a building with the phrase “Before I Die ________________________” repeated over and over again. Her goal was to transform “a neglected space into a constructive one where we can learn the hopes and aspirations of the people around us.”
What a great way to set the tone for the school year. Yes, when I first came across the project I thought it might be a bit morbid or depressing, but the more I thought about it, I fell in love with the idea of challenging my students to pinpoint what is most important to them. All year, we focus on change…becoming more honest, more responsible, more cooperative, more compassionate. With this project, we’ll focus on hope.
I want to challenge students pinpoint what is most important in their lives and identify the barriers to their success. They will identify one act that they feel they must accomplish before they die and participate in discussions about how one’s perspective on life might change if they are facing impending death. (This could be the most interested part, since I’ve heard many of them say that they “could die any day” on many occasions.)

Here’s the logistics, although I haven’t thought too far through them! Students will use stencils, a pencil, and Styrofoam to create a printing block with Chang’s key phrase in bold letters. They will then use white ink on black paper to transfer the phrase. Finally, they’ll fill in the blank line and the extra space as they desire with chalk or oil pastels. Their artwork will be combined into an oversized Wall of Hope so that all residents can share their dreams and life goals with those who pass by.

Here’s Chang’s website if you’re interested in viewing the photos. For such a simple idea, they really are striking.
Yesterday in yoga class, my teacher focused on the phrase “Tension is what you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” I think this project completely aligns with this thought. Prioritize the elements of your life and don’t be afraid to put yourself first sometimes.

‘Til next time Erin


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