Drawing inspiration from art

What do you want to do before you die? Is a question that one public art project is asking people daily.

Located in Downtown Tampa, the Before I Die Wall stands on Tampa’s Riverwalk serving as a means of expression for those in the Bay Area due to the work of Leadership Tampa Bay’s Class of 2016. A program that teaches those involved how to become more involved and better stewards for their communities.

According to Todd Edwards, a Leadership Tampa Bay 2016 class member, this project came to life by an artist named Candy Chang as a coping mechanism for her depression, though to her surprise it gained the attention of others. Now years later that wall she created for herself has produced 1,000 boards that have spanned 70 countries and 36 languages giving countless people the gift of personal expression.

“To be able to express oneself in a public forum, without being judged, you can’t put a price on that,” said Edwards.

Which is an idea that Dawn Federspiel, a woman who visits the wall almost every day understands and enjoys. Sitting along the wall for hours Federspiel creates and re-creates others words by smudging the chalk into beautiful messages and images.

“Life is a value. Love is a value. People are a value,” said Federspiel. “So this is why I come out here and do this, just to be an inspiration”

Federspiel uses the wall not only to inspire but to also help her cope with her own past.

“Let me tell you it’s been a long journey, okay,” said Federspiel.

The Before I Die Wall can be visited at any time and will stay downtown until January 2017 when it will be relocated to a permanent location at Tampa’s Armature Works.