Falls art project gives the public the last word - The Buffalo News

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Falls art project gives the public the last word

NIAGARA FALLS – “Before I Die ... ,” a new public art installation that has gained global renown, has found a new home on Old Falls Street.

The public can participate by completing the phrase with their own thoughts by writing on a chalkboard display.

Installed downtown last weekend, the project, which was developed by American artist Candy Chang, has been created in more than 500 places in more than 30 languages in more than 60 countries.

“As daily summer programming winds down for the 2014 summer season, we are happy to incorporate this interactive art piece into Old Falls Street’s landscape,” said Jason Murgia, assistant general manager for Global Spectrum’s operations in the Falls. Global Spectrum – which is under contract with the state to conduct activities on Old Falls Street and manage the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls – partnered on the project with USA Niagara Development Corp., the state’s economic development agency in the Falls.

“Public space in cities should be interactive on multiple levels, and Candy Chang’s wonderfully creative public art initiative is a unique example of how visitors and residents can directly share their thoughts and hopes with the larger community,” Christopher J. Schoepflin, president of USA Niagara, said in a written statement.

The “Before I Die ... ” project was started in New Orleans in 2011 by Chang, who has said it was a way to express her interest in the relationship between public space and personal well-being. Chang has a master’s degree in urban planning from Columbia University.

The project is considered to be “never ending,” in that once the chalkboard fills up with ideas, it will be photographed and then erased so more people can participate.

Global Spectrum officials said they expect to take the project down for the winter but reinstall it in the spring.

Aaron Ott, public art curator at Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, praised the work coming to the Falls. “As our own initiative continues to expand in the Western New York region,” Ott said, “we look forward to cooperating with USA Niagara, Old Falls Street and the City of Niagara Falls to bring more public art into downtown Niagara Falls in the future.”

email: niagaranews@buffnews.com

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