Archive for July, 2012

This is a mock-up of the Before I die…Kansas City t-shirts. They are being printed locally by Screen Tee Gallery. We want to thank Melissa for her patience during a busy period for the company.

Some of our generous Kickstarter donors will get a shirt as a part of their gift package. We will have some for sale during the installation opening, Friday, Aug 3rd. Depending on the demand, we can have another print run. If you are interested in a shirt, check back next week.

We hope this map helps you find us, either for the installation party, 8.3.12 @7pm or if you like to share your thoughts with the wall.

We thought that some of the dribbles of water that fell from the sky would wash away some of our thoughts, but, they remain, strong and funny and witty and thoughtful and weird (what’s up with this fondness for chipmunks and yes that is a dollar stuck to the wall, thanks). Enjoy the slide show below.

Photos taken 7.26.12

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New Photos, New Thoughts

A week has gone by since we completed the installation and we want to share some of the thoughts with you. Check out the pictures below.

When we completed the installation, last Thursday, leaving the chalk for everyone to use, little did we know that a day and a half later, so many thoughts would be shared, so quickly.

Despite the heavy rain, the chalk was in great shape, but some of the thoughts were washed away, replaced by new ones.

We will never consider the project complete. As long as there is chalk, we want you to come to The Box Building, 214 W. 20th Street, Kansas City, Mo, and share.

After the hard work of Mike Beard and Roy Baker, on Sunday, we were able to prime and apply the chalkboard paint to the installation, Monday. The size of the building threw us at first. We didn’t think the installation was big enough, but with the dimensions of 10″ by 6″ by 48″ our installation is the normal size.

Because of the sirocco, or the Santa Anna’s, the primer and paint dried quickly. After a Thai snack break, via Lulu’s, we were excited to paint in our first stencil. The “Before I die…” paper templet is about 3″ by 10″ and acts like a kite in the wind. It was a challenge to handle but we experienced great joy after the flapping paper was finally staying put. The same infrequent breezes that felt refreshing to us, also gave the spray paint an uncontrollable life of its own. Oh well, life is about painting outside the lines.

We didn’t have our face mask to ward off the nasty buzz from the spray paint, so after we painted the “Before I die…” we called it a day. Unrefreshed from a night in the air conditioning, we headed out to finish the installation stenciling.

Friendly neighbors dropped by throughout the installation and on this last day, we had folks stopping and taking photos our blank canvas.

Now we are waiting to read the thoughts and aspirations of everyone. The chalk is in place and we have decided it was too bold to ask to sing with David Bowie, we are willing to be backups.

We have been in the middle of a heat wave, or under the heat dome, or a heat lamp or something for the last two weeks, so when we heard the weather was going to be 95 degrees and humid, we thought that we should start the installation of BIDKC during this cool front.

Our construction foreman, Mike Beard, has been invaluable. Not only was he patient, we had no electricity for his tools, but he kept a calm head when we ran into further problems, with lumber lengths and any irritant that occurred during this challenging day.

We also owe so much to Mike’s partner, Roy Baker, who while resting in the air conditioned truck, thought of a way to get us electrical power.

Thanks Mike and Roy and LuLu’s Restaurant for a productive and satisfying day.

The flyers are hitting the streets, just in time for the July First Fridays, in the Crossroads Arts District, thanks to our good friend April Spencer, of Good JuJu. Here’s a sample of what folks will see:



Below is our press release to the the local media:

Contact: Marion M. Merritt (816 739 6949)

Before I Die Kansas City: Internationally Acclaimed Community Art Installation Coming To Kansas City For The First Time

Historic Crossroads Building To Be The Living Chalkboard Canvas For An Interactive Public Art Project

On Friday, August 3rd @ 7pm @ 214 W.20th Street in the Crossroads Arts District, the public is invited to the free Kick-Off Celebration/Art Installation of the First Ever Before I Die Kansas City Project. Music, Food, Drink and Plenty of Chalk will be provided for Kansas City to ascribe its hopes, fears & aspirations on the side of our building by filling in the blank “Before I Die I Want To_________________________.”

The “Before I Die Project” was originally created on an abandoned house in New Orleans by artist Candy Chang. Chang wanted the project to be about remembering what is important to you and creating public spaces that better reflect what matters to us as communities and as individuals. The project has since been staged in cities such as Brooklyn, Chicago, and Philadelphia and has expanded to Paris, South Africa, the Netherlands, Mexico, Australia, Portugal, Kazahkstan and beyond. “Through a series of large scale projects that combine installation with social activism, Chang has encouraged people to engage with public spaces to let their voices be heard.” O Magazine, September 2011.

This project comes to Kansas City thanks to long time friends, Kansas City Arts Patron, Leslie Lerner, and Music Blogger, Marion Merritt. Leslie owns the empty building at 214 W. 20th Street, the Box Building, a former box manufacturing site. Marion read about “Before I Die”, thought of the empty Box Building in need of repurposing, and a successful Kickstarter campaign and website were launched. With chalkboard paint, “Before I Die I Want To” stencils provided by Candy Chang, and chalk in hand, Marion and Leslie are excited to share and engage with their community. Their motto for the upcoming event: Your Dreams Our Building.

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