I’ve walked by this public art project, Before I Die, a few times this week. It features a giant chalkboard at 14th and Q streets NW that invites passerby to share a life goal. (Washington Post had a great front-page story yesterday on the project and how it came to be).
From surveying the submissions mid-week (which ran the gamut in subject matter and seriousness), I gleaned a few insights on D.C.’s Before I Die desires:
Animals: Various creatures made a solid showing on the board: “race a cheetah,” “save the orangutans,” and “own a lap giraffe,” to name a few.
Celebrities: People wrote fame-inspired things like “meet George Clooney,” “be the next Suze Orman,” and “be on the Sartorialist” (If you also like street fashion photography, check out Bill Cunningham’s New York. It’s incredible and streams on Netflix).
Family Matters: The most touching, and sometimes heart-breaking, entries had to do with family. Like these: “see my sister make herself happy,” “have a family,” “have babies,” “find my pops,” “meet my birth parents,” and “make my dad proud.”
Live and Learn: At least a few participants shared their desire to earn PhD degrees, and the seemingly youngest Before I Die participant wrote “go to college.”
The World Awaits: People want to live in and visit places all over the world and learn languages galore. This was probably the biggest Before I Die theme, except for…
Love is All You Need: The ‘L’ word was scrawled all over this wall–”Fall in love,” “find the love of my life,” “spread love,” and many variations thereof.
I saw most of these on Wednesday evening. By Thursday morning, much of it was gone. It appears the Wednesday night rainstorm erased a lot of our hopes, dreams, and jokes. Just take a look at these two photos.
Wednesday early evening:
Yes, some washed-away wishes. But now there is room for many more!