The Chatham High School Art Department is celebrating the New Jersey “Week of Respect” by participating in the Before I Die Project, “a public art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in public space.”
CHS Art teachers Eric Hreha, Kiera Spadaro, and Candace Hull implemented the project as a way to honor the dreams and ambitions of all members of the CHS community as equals.
Spadaro said, “Our students responded with excitement and curiosity as more and more responses began appearing on our ‘Before I Die…’ board. During passing time, students stood to read and react to their peers’ aspirations, many times audibly appreciating the sentiment that was recorded, or even the handwriting in which it was written. It was uplifting to see that our students were comfortable to leave a little bit of themselves for passersby to read, and it made me proud that they were respectful of the words that were recorded and of the process of the project as a whole.”
All CHS students and staff are invited to visit the L-wing hallway to add a “bucket list” item to the wall.
The project is a national initiative that originated with a New Orleans artist named Candy Chang. Chang began the project in the midst of a deep depression she experienced after losing a loved one. In her grief, she used chalk to write “Before I die, I want to ?” on the side of an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood. As people walked by, they could pick up a piece of chalk and add their own dreams and ambitions to the wall. Before long, the wall was full, and the project migrated to digital spaces.
For more information about this national project, visit https://beforeidie.cc/site/