What do you want to do before you die?
That’s the question at the centre of an interactive, public art project in the works by the Kalein Hospice Centre.
In June, Kalein Hospice will install a freestanding eight-by-24 foot chalkboard in the old Extra Foods parking lot. On the board will be a repeating stencil of the statement “Before I die I want to” and a blank space for passersby could fill in with coloured chalk.
“We’re really looking at ways of expanding our cultural acceptance of death as a natural part of life,” explained Kalein board member Amy Garvey. “This project asks people to reflect on their lives and what matters most to them and share it in a public setting.”
Garvey notes that community volunteers have stepped forward to build the chalkboard, which will be temporarily installed on the Baker Street frontage of the Extra Foods parking lot near the Bite Truck. Kalein Hospice will cover any costs associated with the project. The board will be dismantled in the fall.
The Kootenay Co-op, which owns the old Extra Foods property, is in support of the project, as are Nelson city councillors who voted unanimously in favour of it at a council meeting last Monday.
Similar installations have been popping up around the world for the past two years. The first was installed on the side of an abandoned house in New Orleans in February 2011. Since then, there have been installations in Mexico, the Netherlands, Australia, Kazakhstan, and beyond.
“It’s a beautiful thing to see, once people have started to write on the board. You get to see what’s important to people in your community,” Garvey said.
Kalein Hospice Centre, which operates out of the the former Sisters of the Precious Blood monastery on West Richards Street in Rosemont, had a Before I Die board at its land dedication ceremony in September. Attendees wrote that before they die they want to: make a difference, have no worries and truly live.
More information on the Before I Die project is at beforeidie.cc.