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Artwork in Milwaukee asks what you want to do before you die

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- What do you need to do before you die? It's a question one local artist is now asking through a large piece of artwork displayed in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood.

At first glance, it just looks like a giant chalkboard with the words “Before I die I want to …” stenciled on it over and over. But that is just the beginning. The hope is that as people walk by the wall, they add to it -- writing down their hopes, dreams and aspirations.

“I'm really excited to see if people respond to it the way they have in other cities and to see it fill up with responses,” said local artist Kristina Rolander. Rolander spent 4 days working on the wall and used her personal time and money to do it. But she said she was glad to do it, because it was a project that inspired her.

The first project like this was done by New Orleans artist Candy Chang. After Hurricane Katrina and the loss of a close friend, the artist painted the side of an abandoned building with chalkboard paint and stenciled those words onto it. In less than a day the wall was covered with the thoughts, hopes and dreams of the community. The project has since been replicated 350 times in more 25 languages and in more than 60 countries.

Now thanks to Rolander, Milwaukee joins dozens of other cities across the nation in putting up a wall like this, specifically on November 5th, named the day of walls.

“I wanted my friends and family to have the opportunity to engage with this piece and to learn more about my neighbors and my community,” said Rolander.

Rolander said she is looking forward to seeing what everyone will write. As for what she would write: “Before I die I want to make profound art that touches people the way Candy Chang's piece has touched me and many others around the world,” said Rolander.

You can find the wall outside the Sky High Skateboard Shop and gallery on Howell Avenue in Bay View. It will stay up through December 4th. To learn more about the original artist, and the “Day of Walls” you can go to http://candychang.com/.

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