With new construction projects popping up seemingly around every corner, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the continual, disruptive mess and crane-scarred skyline. It seems as though everything is constantly being replaced by something newer and often times less than inspiring. Multiple historic downtown buildings will be replaced by hotels and parking garages, and do we really need another Starbucks?
How do we combat this feeling of being constantly in-progess and seeing little benefit?
My favorite public installation artist is Candy Chang, and I love her solution to this problem. In New Orleans, she created “I Wish This Was” labels to be placed on any surface that could be turned into something better. People wished for local grocery stores, art galleries, ice cream parlors and more. They even wished for bigger concepts for the city, such as “I wish this was a city without theft” or, in a particularly run-down area of town, “I wish this was a higher priority of the city”. I think this is a fantastic solution to a growing problem because it gives the community a subtle, powerful voice to advocate for their neighborhood. It also demonstrates an often unseen aspect of the creative community, with people leaving notes on existing labels, offering their own services to make these dreams become reality.
To learn more about this project, visit Candy’s website here: I Wish This Was