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Associated Press
In this Nov. 29, 2013 photo, people finish the sentence “Before I die . . .” on a large blackboard in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Michelle Smith)

Public art project elicits the profound, profane

Associated Press
In this Nov. 7, 2013 photo, Rick Destito poses near the “Before I Die” wall he painted on the former factory building he owns in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)
Associated Press
In this Nov. 7, 2013 photo, Nyquis Turner, 16, writes “Play in the NFL” on a wall in Syracuse, N.Y., that invites passers-by to complete the sentence: “Before I die, I want to...” (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)
Associated Press
In this Nov. 7, 2013 photo, Sara McAlister, 22, and Patrick Kraushaar, 26, write on a wall in Syracuse, N.Y., that invites passers-by to complete the sentence: “Before I die, I want to...” (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)

– It is public art made of private wishes.

In a phenomenon spreading across the globe, oversize blackboards, painted on buildings and freestanding displays, invite passers-by to complete the sentence: "Before I die I want to..."

Answers are written on stenciled lines with pieces of sidewalk chalk.

Since artist Candy Chang created the first wall on an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood in 2011, more than 400 walls have gone up in the United States and more than 60 other countries.

Chang says a universal theme is personal well-being. She cites repeat entries like: "have no regrets," "forgive and be forgiven" and "heal."

A hardcover book, "Before I Die," released earlier this month captures some of the answers, which are otherwise erased to make room for more.

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