Cincinnati
Ohio, USA

Built by Erika Nj Allen and The Art Academy of Cincinnati

April 2017

Photos by Erika Nj Allen

With assistance from Lindsey Ferguson, Mandy Clements, Emily Everhart Wells, Gabby Ferguson, Matt Dayler, John Auer, Frank Vonder Meulen, and Cecilia Padilla. Funded by The Over The Rhine Community Council.

The Before I Die wall at 12th and Jackson Street in Cincinnati resulted from Erika Nj Allen’s presentation in an art history course. The enthusiastic response to the Before I Die project encouraged the student to build this wall with the Art Academy of Cincinnati. “I immediately realized how meaningful it was due to the reaction everyone in class had,” said Allen. “My classmates and I were inspired by the message of comfort in regards to grief and death, because it offers a safe space to process and confront the feelings of despair by finding a way to accept the act of death as a natural thing. It also prepares us to be compassionate as a community. This project personally resonates with me, as I know it does with others. Coping with the loss of someone you love is very difficult. My hope is that with this wall we can find some kind of hope and positive confrontation of grief by realizing that we are not alone in this feeling, that there are many others willing to listen.”

I want to live on every (inhabitable) continent.

I want to heal.

I want to kiss my kids one million times.

I want to come out of the closet safely.

I want to shave my head.

I want to teach everyone how to love.

I want to be legally non-binary.

I want to have a vibrant marriage.

I want to become a great musician.

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