Inspired by artist Candy Chang’s 2011 original “Before I Die” project, which has since been replicated all over the world, the Van Aken District chalk wall has provided a forum for public self-expression and community dialog. 


As a unique twist on Chang’s model, AVA reached out to the art department at Shaker Heights High School to engage students in selecting prompts and designing corresponding

imagery that would give the wall more visual interest to entice passersby to participate.


For four consecutive weeks, the winning designs were applied to the wall by the students themselves, giving them and their peers an early sense of ownership and belonging in the District. 

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