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2015 Speaker: Artist, Designer and Urban Planner Candy Chang

Better Cities: Transforming Public Spaces Through Art & Design
Thursday, April 30, 2015
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Mandell Theater

Candy Chang

Walk the Great Wall of China. Fall in love. Change the world. Hug a sequoia.

What do you want to do before you die?

Artist, designer and urban planner Candy Chang has asked this question on over 500 walls across the world. After losing someone she loved and struggling to find clarity, Chang reflected on her own life and decided to focus on what really mattered to her: living. She’s traveled to more than 60 countries, transforming walls of abandoned buildings into public proclamations of love, adventure and yearning.

“Before I die, I want to __________,” Chang asks.

The College of Arts and Sciences is proud to announce that Candy Chang will deliver the fifth lecture in the Drexel University College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecture Series on April 30, 2015.

In anticipation of her visit, Chang will create a “Before I die…” art installation on an 80-foot wall surrounding the construction site of the former University City High School in Powelton Village at 38th and Powelton Streets on Thursday, October 23rd. Once complete, community members will have a chance to write on the wall, filling in the phrase “Before I die, I want to…” Chang will discuss the progress of the Powelton Village wall in the spring Distinguished Lecture.

Better Cities: Transforming Public Spaces Through Art & Design

Combining urban planning, street art and graphic design, Candy Chang transforms simple objects like stickers, stencils and chalkboards into powerful tools that spark conversations in public spaces around the world. In her talks, she poses new strategies for civic life and inspires you to think differently about how you approach your own work. Through personal stories from her childhood to the present, she illustrates how seemingly disparate experiences in countries from Kazakhstan to South Africa to Finland have come together to incite new perspectives and form a coherent philosophy. Carefully crafted for each audience and cultivated from her own evolving questions, Chang's provocative and intimate talks explore the power of personal introspection in public space and what we can learn from our collective wisdom.

About Candy Chang

Candy Chang is known for her interactive public installations that provoke civic engagement and emotional introspection. She is the author of “Before I Die” and a former art director at the New York Times. Chang’s public installation projects have been featured in cities such as Johannesburg, New York City, Nairobi, New Orleans, Almaty, Hong Kong, Turku and Medan, among others. Her art has also been exhibited in the Venice Biennale, the New Museum, Tate Modern, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Chang is a recipient of the TED Senior Fellowship, the Tulane University Rockefeller Foundation Urban Innovation Fellowship, and was named one of the Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design by Impact Design Hub, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design and a bachelor of science in architecture from the University of Michigan, as well as a master’s degree in urban planning from Columbia University.

About the Distinguished Lecture

The College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecture will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Drexel’s Mandell Theater on April 30, 2015. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are required and will be available online beginning March 23, 2015.

Chang will join acclaimed author Sir Salman Rushdie, media maven Arianna Huffington, neuroscientist David Eagleman and religion scholar and author Reza Aslan on the growing list of accomplished CoAS distinguished lecturers.

Please direct any inquiries regarding either of these events to Jennifer Yusin at