Sep 04, 2012

Acclaimed Artist Candy Chang to Visit CNU

(Newport News, Va.) - Candy ChangCNU’s Department of Fine Arts and Art History, Office of Student Activities-Diversity Initiatives, and the Multicultural Student Association will host acclaimed artist, designer and urban planner Candy Chang on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. Chang will speak at the Ferguson Center for the Arts at 6:30 p.m. and then install her famous “Before I die I want to_______.” wall along with CNU students. The event is open to the campus community. No reservation is required.

Chang is an artist passionate about redefining the ways we share information in public space to improve neighborhoods. Through a series of large-scale projects that combine installation art with social activism, Chang has encouraged people to engage with public spaces to let their voices be heard. Her work has been exhibited in the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Southbank Centre, and she has created public art commissions for civic institutions, international airports and creative organizations. Her website,, includes the following information regarding her “Before I die I want to_______.” installation:

“It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you. When Candy lost someone she loved very much, she thought about death a lot. This helped clarify her life but she struggled to maintain perspective. She wanted to know what was important to the people around her. So with help from old and new friends, she turned the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans into a giant chalkboard and stenciled it with the sentence ‘Before I die I want to _______.’ so anyone walking by can pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in public space.

It was all an experiment. By the next day the wall was entirely filled out and it kept growing. Before I die I want to… sing for millions, see my daughter graduate, straddle the International Date Line, see the leaves change many times, be someone’s cavalry, live off the grid, build a school, hold her one more time, abandon all insecurities, be completely myself… People’s hopes and dreams made her laugh out loud, tear up, and feel consolation during her own tough times. The wall transformed a neglected space into a constructive one where we can understand our neighbors in new and enlightening ways, restore perspective, and remember we are not alone. The Atlantic called it ‘one of the most creative community projects ever,’ and the project was featured on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.”

For more information, visit, or call the Office of Student Activities-Diversity Initiatives at (757) 594-8805.

A four-year public university in Newport News, Virginia, Christopher Newport University enrolls 5,000 students in rigorous academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences through the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, and the College of Social Sciences, including the Luter School of Business. CNU offers great teaching and small class sizes with an emphasis on leadership, civic engagement and honor.

Media Contact:
Lori Jacobs
Director of Public Relations

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