“Before I Die” wall arrives in Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Art doesn’t always come in the form of a painting or statue, and there’s something new in Portsmouth proving that right now. People are making their private hopes and dreams public.

WAVY.com visited High Street to find out why people are asking themselves what they want to do before they die. “Before I Die” walls started in New Orleans as a way for people to grieve after Hurricane Katrina, and to date, more than 450 walls have been created in 30 languages in more than 65 countries. Places that people used to aimlessly pass every day are now causing heads to turn, feet to stop and minds to wonder.Before I die

“My friends who own businesses along High Street have said they’ve seen people stopping and reading and laughing and talking with each other,” said Barbara Vincent. “It’s sort of a dream and it’s sort of a bucket list type thing.”

Vincent is a member of the Supporters of Portsmouth Public Art, the group that brought the “Before I Die” wall to Hampton Roads.

“I’d love to see more modern art that kind of jolts you a little, makes you smile, gives you another reason to come back,” said Peter Youngblood. “Every couple of days our volunteers come down here and wash the board because it fills up with so much information.”

The response has been tremendous and the themes vary. People write about faith, freedom, peace and, of course, love.

“I’ve been unmarried for 18 years,” said Tammy McPeek. “I have three wonderful children that are grown now, so it’s time, time for me to start over. I think this will make people stop and look at it and read it and maybe get a goal in their mind come back to the board and see what someone else wrote.”

It’s interactive art, and the group behind the idea hopes you’ll visit the wall over and over again.

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