Georgia, USA

Savannah’s historic district is one of the largest and most protected in the country. Organizers Megan Luther and Francis Allen created two walls—one in the Historic District on the side of an old bus station, and the other on Waters Avenue, a corridor of abandoned buildings and storefront churches with relatively high crime and unemployment. Responses such as “resurrect myself,” “sing for an audience,” and “be a hero” began filling up the incredibly vibrant walls and, as is the risk with any project open to the public, a handful of crude remarks appeared as well. “This infuriated a church lady who purported to represent the neighborhood surrounding the Waters Avenue mural, pointing out that there were churches around and that churchgoers had to walk past this ‘disgusting’ affront to their neighborhood,” said Francis. “Interestingly, many church members would actually stop by the wall and write or read responses on their way to and from church.”

Learning how people have followed through with their responses can be challenging, but when people share their stories with us, it is always inspiring. After the Before I Die book came out, which featured the Savannah installations and the most memorable responses, a woman wrote to Candy: “I’m the ‘Before I die I want to be in a healthy relationship for the sake of my daughter’ from the Waters Avenue mural in Savannah. I put my hope up on that wall and it has been manifesting itself ever since. I kicked out the man I thought I could never leave and have never looked back. I saw my comment in your book and was blown away. It is easy to let others/life/our own fears get us down. I have shared your book with all of the important people in my life and it is so neat to reflect and discuss with them. I can’t thank you enough for giving me the tool to see my vision and to change my life.”

Built by SeeSAW

May 2012

Made with love by Megan Luther, Francis Allen, James Zdaniewski, and Matt Hebermehl