Candy Chang

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Candy Chang
Candy Chang.JPG
CitizenshipUnited States
  • M.S. Urban Planning
  • B.F.A. Graphic Design
  • B.S. Architecture
Alma mater
  • Columbia University
  • University of Michigan
Known forBefore I Die Project

Candy Chang (born in Pittsburg) is an American contemporary artist.[1] Chang specializes in participatory art and is the creator of the Before I Die public art project that has been highly acclaimed around the world.[2]

Chang is also a TED Speaker and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader known for her art installations that highlight the importance of public places and their role in uplifting the community both mentally and spiritually.[3][4]

Chang is a TED Senior Fellow, an Urban Innovation Fellow, and was featured in The Oprah Magazine as a “Live Your Best Life” Local Hero.[5] She was also listed as one of the Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design by Impact Design Hub and is the recipient of the Tony Goldman Visionary Artist Award and University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award.

Early life and education

Chang was born in Pittsburg. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan. She attended Phillips Exeter Academy. Later, Chang enrolled at the University of Michigan, where she pursued a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. She also has a master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University.


Chang started her career making street art in 2006, and since then has created numerous public art projects that have been featured in museums around the world. Chang has created participatory art with organizations and people such as the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Art Production Fund, Rubin Museum of Art, Annenberg Foundation, Mint Museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, James A. Reeves, and others.[6] Her work has been exhibited in the Venice Architecture Biennale, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The highly acclaimed project by Chang - Before I Die - was initiated in 2011 after the death of a dear one, in order to cope with the loss and depression.[7] This is when she created Before I Die on the walls of an abandoned building in her neighborhood in New Orleans. The participatory public artwork was created by Chang as a tribute to Joan and as a coping mechanism to bring perspective to her life. Within days, the Before I Die wall was full of hundreds of handwritten wishes by strangers.[8] Chang’s public forum has been recreated in over 75 countries across the world. This project has also been compiled into a book that was published in 2013.[9]

Chang is an influential keynote speaker and has spoken at various events and platforms including TED, of which she is also a senior fellow. Her TED talk has been viewed over 5 million times and is one of the most translated TED talks, translated into over 40 languages.[10] She has lectured at numerous places, including Center for Architecture, New York; Creativity World Forum, Rio de Janeiro; Google, Macau; Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago; Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta; Summer Public Art School, Turku; Women’s Leadership Conference, Las Vegas, and others.

Chang has also been featured in numerous publications such as The Atlantic, Time Magazine, Public Art Journal, Women’s Health Magazine, Forbes Magazine, Pelican Bomb, CNN, NBC, The Oprah Magazine, and others.


S.No. Name Location Year
1 Sidewalk Psychiatry New York 2006
2 A Nice Place For A Tree New York 2007
3 Community Chalkboards Johannesburg, South Africa 2007-2008
4 Post It Notes For Neighbours Brooklyn, New York 2008
5 The Pedestrian Timeline New York 2008
6 Tenants’ Rights Flashcards New York 2008
7 Human Rights - 2008-2010
8 Street Vendor Guide New York 2009
9 Neighbour Doorknob Hanger USA 2010
10 You Make Me Feel So Mahatva Helsinki, Finland 2010
11 I Wish This Was New Orleans, Louisiana 2010
12 Before I Die New Orleans & Worldwide 2011- present
13 Career Path Turku, Finland 2011
14 Neighborland New Orleans & Worldwide 2011 - present
15 Looking For Love Again Fairbanks, Alaska 2011
16 Confessions Las Vegas, London, Athens, Yerevan, and other locations 2012 - present
17 Kissing Crying and Making Out In Public Hong Kong 2013
18 School of the Future Alabama 2013
19 Love Destroys Time New Orleans, Louisiana 2014
20 She Dreamed of a Place Called Fat City New Orleans, Louisiana 2015
21 School of the Future Athenes, Greece 2016
22 The Atlas of Tomorrow Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2016 - present
23 Grief is a Beast That Will Never Be Tamed Heraklion, Greece 2017
24 A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful New York 2018
25 Light The Barricades Los Angeles, California; Charlotte, North Carolina 2019 - 2021

Selected exhibitions

  • WALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine, Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, California, September 5 – December 29, 2019.
  • Art of the City: Postmodern to Post-Katrina, The Helis Foundation and Historic New Orleans Collection, April 6 – October 6, 2019
  • No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., March 30, 2018 – January 21, 2019
  • Three Experiments in the City by Candy Chang, Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece, 2016
  • By the People: Designing a Better America, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, New York, 2016.
  • Public Works: Artists’ Interventions 1970s-Now, Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, California, September 16 – December 13, 2015
  • Until We Meet Again, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California, 2013
  • Past Futures, Present, Futures, Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, New York, 2012
  • National Design Triennial, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, New York, 2011.

In the media



  1. Baron, Jennifer (2018-05-07). "Inspire Speakers Series welcomes acclaimed public artist Candy Chang". NEXTpittsburgh. Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  2. "Candy ChangCulture: So What?!? –". Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  3. "6 art installations by Candy Chang that make the viewer part of the piece | TED Blog". Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  4. Chang, Candy. "Candy Chang | Speaker | TED". Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  5. TED, The most translated TED Talks, retrieved 2021-04-01
  6. Hadas, Rachel. "Holding on to hope is hard, even with the pandemic's end in sight – wisdom from poets through the ages". The Conversation. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  7. Foundation, MGM Resorts. "Artist Candy Chang, known for public exhibit "Before I Die," will speak at the Women's Leadership Conference in Las Vegas". Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  8. "'Before I Die' wall brings community connection in Riverfront Park | The Spokesman-Review". Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  9. Chang, Candy (2013). Before I die. New York. ISBN 1250020840.
  10. "The most translated TED Talks". Retrieved 1 April 2021.

External links