Arts & Culture News

In Uptown, Dallasites are Telling the World What They Want to Do Before They Die

The Intown You Project is an Uptown outpost of an international public art installation called the "Before I Die" project. Basically, it's a huge outdoor chalkboard that asks, "What do you want to do before you die?"

A little over a month ago we told you about the installation, but now that it's been built, here's a little update for you. I spoke with Rabbi Zvi Drizin of The Intown Chabad about this project and what it means for Uptown.

Where did the idea come from for the Intown You Project? I was in Israel at a conference listening a guy named Danny Harris speak about storytelling. I later talked to him about how we could get people in our community to be more open and talk about themselves, and he told me about this art project called "Before I Die" that had been done in different cities. At The Intown Chabad we are all about getting people to maximize their potential, and after seeing the power this project had to get people to share their dreams, I was hooked!

Why did you choose the location at Company Cafe? We thought it was important to find a public space in Uptown with a lot of foot traffic, and where better then the Katy Trail? Our dear friends Dr. Rich Kaplan and Jodi Martin helped us secure the location at Company Café, whose owners were more then happy to share their wall with the Uptown community.

What do you hope will be the lasting effects of the project? My hope is that this project will evolve over time with different questions being posed to people for reflection. I remember once running down the Katy Trail and someone had spray painted the question, "What are you running from?" That well-placed question has me constantly challenged to answer it. So I hope that when people see this question, it just might power their own search for a more purposeful and intentional life.

What are some of the strangest things people have written up there so far? There are so many interesting and strange things already! One person wanted to "find Fletcher" which just makes me wonder what that story is all about. But overall there are so many wonderfully simple hopes, from "Be a Mom" to "Find the cure for cancer" followed by "Find the cure before the guy above me" with an arrow pointing to the previous one.

So...what do you want to do before you die? I'm always hoping to impact just one more person. But I also want to perform a classical recital at the Meyerson before I die... and that will take A LOT of work!

You can discover The Intown You Project (and perhaps a bit about yourself) on the east outside wall of Company Café on the Trail (3136 Routh Street), facing the Katy Trail. It will be up for about two months, and as it fills up the group will take photos and post them to the project's facebook page.

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Rachel Edenson Pinn

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