Unique Places: Before I Die Project
BUFFALO, NY - At the corner of Fillmore Avenue and Paderewski Drive on the city's east side, in the heart of what some would conclude is a dying neighborhood, there is a displayed message with a reference to death.
But in fact, this display is a message about life.
It is a more or less a "bucket list" on an abandoned building....where local artists have erected large chalk boards, and invited people to "fill in the blanks" after the words, "Before I Die I Want To....".
"The big idea is to get people to interact in their neighborhood," said metal sculptor Sarah Fonzi, who is among a group who adopted an idea spawned by a fellow artisan in New Orleans, to spark spirits in downtrodden areas, by allowing people to express their hopes and dreams.
"There's some really powerful messages being written on the wall there," Fonzi told WGRZ-TV. "Everything from 'reunite with family' or' stop the violence', or even really silly things like 'paint the city gold'."
Interestingly, this work -like every one of us in fact, had a shelf life.
It was supposed to be dismantled a couple weeks ago, and re-erected on a building on the city's west side.
But a funny thing happened as they went to remove it.
"Some neighbors came out and begged us to leave it," said Fonzi. "They said it's been creating some really great energy in the neighborhood and getting people to come out and to talk and to get excited about it."
Therefore, they have decided it will stay, and another "Before I Die" display will be erected across town, so that Buffalo will have two of them.
Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalists Norm Fisher from Eden and Terry Belke. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2