SAULT DOWNTOWN ASSOCIATION
ARCH Hospice volunteers braved the freezing weather this week to build the newest living art installation in Sault Ste. Marie. The alleyway that links Queen and King Streets in the Sault’s downtown core is now home to the Before I Die chalkboard wall.
In an era of social media, this traditional form of urban expression is a welcome addition to the funky vibe that is making its way to our city.
“The Before I Die walls are now popping up in cities across the globe and can be found in over 73 different countries and in 50 different languages, so we’re excited to bring it the the Sault,” says Tiffany Caicco, who helped orchestrate the art installation on behalf of ARCH Hospice.
Conceptualized in 2011 by Candy Chang, the original wall was her way to outwardly express herself and help her deal with the loss of a loved one.
She used chalkboard paint on an abandoned wall in her hometown of New Orleans and wrote her thoughts. She left the chalk behind and the next day, the wall was covered with messages left by people eager to share their thoughts.
“Community is what this project is all about,” says Caicco. “It’s a great way to engage community members in the important conversation about living life to the fullest. We hope the wall becomes a representation of our diverse community - a public space where people of all ages can make their mark for a moment in time.”
Chalk will be available to write messages, and it will be cleaned on occasion either by man or mother nature.
The Downtown Association is managing the board. Josh Ingram, manager of the Downtown Association had this to say in relation to the project:
"The chalkboard wall being implemented in the downtown is just another wonderful example of how the Association hopes to make Queen Street a recreational and interactive hub of activity. We all have a story and goals we'd like to achieve, and as a community, as neighbours this wall gives us the opportunity to be inspired by the candour, bravery or frivolity of anonymous thought. I look forward to many visits to the wall to see what people are up to."
A public ribbon cutting ceremony will be held soon.
Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime, visit the board and record your message! Take a picture and share your personal reflections, aspirations, and goals with us on social media. Remember to use the hashtag #beforeidiessm.
To learn more about this exciting initiative, please visit www.archhospice.ca/befforeidiessm or visit us on facebook - Before I Die SSM.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story was incorrectly titled and attributed the news release to Arch Hospice.