Ideas of engagement – ways to spark inexpensive creativity

Civic Center
Civic Center

With a little creativity and a few hundred dollars, Southern Colorado could be seen as the emerging creative collective. Forget about having to attract large corporate sponsors or winning a multi-million dollar grant, what’s being done by creatives such as Candy Chang can be done here for next to nothing. Candy Chang, a designer, artist, and urban planner is the creative mind behind these ideas, which have been featured on the national stage.

Her projects have inspired and motivated communities around the world to create interactive public spaces. 

One of the most popular projects Chang has developed is her “Before I Die” wall. The idea is simple: find an abandoned building somewhere, put up some boards, paint them with chalkboard paint, and spray paint stencils on the chalkboards, then all that’s left is the chalk and thoughts. This project has caught fire and is continually growing with over 100 walls in 10 different languages spanning 30 countries. In the grand scheme of community projects this is not only affordable, but continuous. The chalk is easily washed off and with it a fresh slate provides an opportunity for other’s unshared dreams. 

In 2011 Chang created her “Career Path” it originated in Finland on the Uraputki or “Career Path.” This busy pathway served as the main route for many students biking or footing it from their homes to the university. One side of the path contains several boxes that read, “When I was little I wanted to be,” hitched with, “Today I want to be.” College students write their replies in chalk. Like the “Before I Die” wall talks, this too provides reflection and is continually changing as natural elements eventually erase the thoughts of yesterday and which quickly are replaced with new ones.

In 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada Chang created a confession project in the middle of The Cosmopolitan. The concept like her other projects was uncomplicated. People walking the strip could come in to the art gallery where she displayed wooden plaques with written confessions. Reminiscent of the P.S. or Post Secret postcards (if you don’t know what this is you seriously need to google it), the plaques contain all sorts of confessions. In the short month this project was up and running over 1500 responses were collected, proving these plaques provided a cathartic release.

The last project (Chang has several more) the history nerd would selfishly like to see in Colorado, is the Pedestrian Timeline. The project has only been piloted on Governor’s Island in New York, New York. Informative and intelligible this idea essentially takes little tidbits and facts from history about a place and spray paints the year and fact with a little picture on the sidewalk, so as people walk by they not only partake in the lovely scenery, but also gain some trivia knowledge.

The great thing about all these projects is that they could be a part of our community. Myself as well as many others believe in the greatness of the Southern Rockies, these inspiring projects could be tweaked to fit our needs, but all could be done with relative ease and little monetary contribution. The art community from Pueblo to Salida to La Veta is continually expanding. Our communities can be as innovative, stimulating, interactive, continuous, and determined as any other community. 

To view more of her public projects, visit her website at http://candychang.com/category/projects/

by Genevieve Ackley
Photos courtesy Civic Center

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