Through the activation of public spaces around the world, artist Candy Chang creates work that envisions the future of ritual in public life. Her projects examine the dynamics between society and the psyche, the threshold between isolation and community, and the role of public space in an alienating age. A leader in participatory public art, her work lies at the intersection of contemplative practice and the built environment.

After receiving bachelor’s degrees in architecture and design at the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in urban planning at Columbia University, Chang worked with communities in Nairobi, New York, Helsinki, New Orleans, Vancouver, and Johannesburg to create participatory public installations that challenged existing systems for civic engagement. After struggling with grief and depression, she channeled her emotional questions into her work. Her participatory public art project Before I Die reimagines the ways the walls of our cities can help us grapple with mortality and meaning as a community today. The Atlantic called it “one of the most creative community projects ever,” and over 5,000 Before I Die walls have since been created by communities in over 75 countries.

She has continued to explore emotional communion in public life with many communities and organizations, including the Mural Arts Program, Art Production Fund, the Department of Behavioral Health and Disability Services, the Onassis Cultural Centre, and the Annenberg Foundation. Her award-winning interactive mural The Atlas of Tomorrow draws upon psychology and the I Ching to transform a building into a device for philosophical reflection. Over 50,000 reflections were shared on A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. Her most recent work, Light the Barricades, is a series of illuminated installations in Los Angeles that reimagine the wall as a site for public ritual. She often collaborates with James A. Reeves and their work can be found at Ritual Fields.

She is a recipient of the TED Senior Fellowship, Urban Innovation Fellowship, and Tony Goldman Visionary Artist Award. She was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, one of the Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design by Impact Design Hub, and a “Live Your Best Life” Local Hero by Oprah Magazine. Her work has been exhibited in museums including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Venice Architecture Biennale, New Museum, Tate Modern, and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She is an international speaker on community and emotional health, and her TED talk has been viewed over five million times.



M.S. Urban Planning, Columbia University, New York, NY
B.S. Architecture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
B.F.A. Graphic Design, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


  • Archipelago Art Residency, Korpo, Finland (2019-2020)
  • Rubin Museum of Art Artist Honoree (2019)
  • Hemera Foundation Tending Space Fellowship (2018)
  • University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award (2017)
  • Kindle Project Makers Muse Award (2017)
  • Hangar Artist Residency, Lisbon, Portugal (2017)
  • NES Artist Residency, Skagaströnd, Iceland (2017)
  • National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Creativity Connects Grant (2016)
  • Tony Goldman Visionary Artist Award (2016)
  • American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Humanities Award (2016)
  • 40 under 40, Design in the 21st Century, Impact Design Hub (2016)
  • Lakkos Artist Residency, Heraklion, Crete, Greece (2016)
  • Puffin Foundation Grant (2015)
  • Ogden Museum Magnolia Ball Honoree (2015)
  • Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation Color Our World Award (2014)
  • AIGA 100 Years of Design Showcase (2014)
  • Louisiana’s Top 10 Contemporary Artists, Culture Trip (2014)
  • Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design, Impact Design Hub (2013)
  • The Creativity 50, Advertising Age (2013)
  • The Good 100, GOOD Magazine (2013)
  • Burning Man Award of Excellence (2013)
  • World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2012)
  • Art Production Fund Artist-in-Residence, The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV (2012)
  • Maryland Institute College of Art Samson Feldman Artist-in-Residence (2012)
  • TED Senior Fellowship (2011)
  • Black Rock Arts Foundation Grant Recipient (2011)
  • Tulane University/Rockefeller Foundation Urban Innovation Fellowship (2011)
  • Alaska Design Forum Artist-in-Residence (2011)
  • “Live Your Best Life” Local Hero, Oprah Magazine (2011)
  • Top 11 Visual Artists in New Orleans, NOLA Defender (2011)
  • European Capital of Culture Flux Aura/Artist as Neighbour Artist-in-Residence, Turku, Finland (2010)
  • Fast Company Emerging Master of Design (2010)
  • TED Global Fellowship (2009)
  • Center for Urban Pedagogy Making Policy Public Fellowship, New York (2008)
  • Sappi Ideas That Matter Grant Recipient (2008)
  • Columbia University Urban Planning Award for Outstanding Contribution to Leadership in Planning Education (2007)
  • Global Studio Fellowship, Johannesburg, South Africa (2007)
  • Infrastructure and Poverty Action Lab Fellowship (2007)
  • Global Studio Fellowship, Vancouver, Canada (2006)
  • Spatial Information Design Lab Fellowship, New Orleans (2006)


Light the Barricades, WALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine, Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, CA, Sep-Dec 2019
Wonderspaces: Elsewhere, Scottsdale, AZ, 2019.
No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA, Oct 2019-Feb 2020
Wonderspaces: In Common, San Diego, CA, Jun-Sep, 2019
Art of the City: Postmodern to Post-Katrina, presented by The Helis Foundation, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Apr-Oct 2019.
Before I Die, Arts Center of Mississippi, Greater Jackson Arts Council, Jackson, MS
No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH, Apr-Sep 2019

A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful, The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, NY, Feb 2018-Jan, 2019
No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., Mar-Sep 2018
Confessions, ARTSakh Fest, Institute of Contemporary Art, Stepanakert, Artsakh
Art of the City: Postmodern to Post-Katrina, Historic New Orleans Collection
Confessions public installation, Karoyan Gallery and Moscow Cinema, Yerevin, Armenia
Before I Die, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO
Before I Die, Culture Lab, West Palm Peach, FL

Grief is a Beast That Will Never Be Tamed, Lakkos Artist Residency, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
, Merge Festival, London, England, UK
Open Studio, NES Artist Residency, Skagaströnd, Iceland
Before I Die, SICK! Festival, Manchester, England, UK

By the People: Designing a Better America, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, NY
The Atlas of Tomorrow, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA
Three Experiments in the City by Candy Chang, Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece
Réver(cité), Cité de l’architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris, France
Confessions, Ў Gallery of Contemporary Art, Minsk, Belarus
Before I Die, Pen and Brush Gallery, New York, NY
The Past and The Future: Looking Back, Now and Forward, New York Public Library, New York, NY

She Dreamed of a Place Called Fat City, Arts Council of New Orleans & Fat City Friends, New Orleans, LA
Public Works: Artists’ Interventions 1970s – Now exhibition, Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA
Before I Die, Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery, Palm Desert, CA

Love Destroys Time, Exhibit BE, Prospect 3 satellite exhibition, New Orleans, LA
Imago Mundi, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
Design for Social Impact, Museum of Design Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
The Candy Chang Initiative, Union Internationale des Architectes, Durban, South Africa
Bankside Transformed, Merge Festival, Tate Modern, London, UK
ArtPrize, Grand Rapids, MI
Design for Social Impact, Museum of Design Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
Spontaneous Interventions, Governors Island, New York, NY
Geographies of Change, Cittadellarte Fondazione Pistoletto, Italy

Futures Project, Centre for the Living Arts, Mobile, AL
Before I Die, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
The Institute Effect, Lisbon Architecture Triennale, Lisbon, Portugal
Ideas City, New Museum, New York, NY
Until We Meet Again… San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
EmpathiCITY, Biennale Internationale Design, Saint-Étienne, France
Untapped Invitational, Umbrella Arts Gallery, New York, NY
Ephemera Sprawl, The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA
Dial Collect, SOMArts, San Francisco, CA
Confessions, TED Fellows Retreat, Monterey, CA
Signs of Our Times: Text Based Art in the 21st Century, Southeastern Contemporary Art Gallery, Hammond, LA

Kissing, Crying, and Freaking Out in Public, Detour Design Renegade, Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, Hong Kong
Spontaneous Interventions, Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice, Italy
Past Futures, Present, Futures, Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, NY
Death: The Southbank Centre’s Festival for the Living, Southbank Centre, London, UK
Confessions, Art Production Fund and The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV
Iconic Signage Project, Arts Council of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
The City Speaks Exhibition, Museum of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Mix(Cité), La Cité de L’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris, France
Before I Die, Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV

Flux Aura, European Creative Capital of Culture, Turku, Finland
Looking for Love Again, Common Space, Alaska Design Forum, Fairbanks, AK
The Voice Of…, Onomatopee, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Hypothetical Development, Du Mois Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Neighborland, New Orleans, LA
Subtext Projects, East/West Galleries, Fort Worth, TX
Before I Die, New Orleans, LA

National Design Triennial, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, NY
Ethnographic Terminalia
, Du Mois Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Poster Offensive, GALLEY, Minneapolis, MN
I Wish This Was, Ethnographic Terminalia, New Orleans, LA
It’s Good to Be Here, New Orleans, LA
Neighbor Doorknob Hangar, GOOD Magazine

Global Polis, Center for Architecture, New York, NY
@, Sci-Arc, Los Angeles, CA
Poster4Tomorrow, Various cities

Community Chalkboard, Global Studio, Johannesburg, South Africa
, Koltsovo International Airport, Yekaterinburg, Russia
The Pedestrian Timeline, Figment, Governors Island, New York, NY
Post-it-Notes for Neighbors, Windows Brooklyn, New York, NY
A Nice Place For A Tree, New York, NY

Conflux Festival, Brooklyn, NY
MC2, Maison de la culture de Grenoble, Grenoble, France2006
Sidewalk Psychiatry, New York, NY


4GN Design Congress, Bogota, Columbia
Alaska Design Forum Symposium, Anchorage, AK
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Chicago, IL
American Planning Association National Conference, Atlanta, GA
Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
C.G. Jung Society of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
California Conference for Women, Santa Clara, CA
Canadian Institute of Planners, Vancouver, Canada
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Center for Architecture, New York, NY
Centre for the Living Arts, Mobile, AL
Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
City of San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica, CA
CorNet Global, Anaheim, CA
Creativity World Forum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Colorado Governors Tourism Conference, Vail, CO
Dallas Women’s Foundation, Dallas, TX
Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference, Detroit, MI
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Global Health Summit, New Orleans, LA
Google, Macau, China
Green Building Alliance, Pittsburgh, PA
International Design Association, Kohler, WI
LinuxCon, New Orleans, LA
Massachusetts Conference for Women, Boston, MA
Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago, IL
National Association of Realtors, New Orleans, LA
New Mexico Municipal League, Albuquerque, NM
Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
Pennsylvania Conference for Women, Philadelphia, PA
Psych Congress, San Diego, CA
Rubin Museum of Art, New York, NY
Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, GA
Summer Public Art School, Turku, Finland
TED Conference, Long Beach, CA
TED Global Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland
TED Sessions with Marriott, Boston, MA
TED Sessions with Ford, London, UK
Texas Conference for Women, Austin, TX
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
University of Alaska, Anchorage, AK
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Vivid Sydney Festival, Sydney, Australia
Visión Diseño Conference, Querétaro, Mexico
Vistage International, New Orleans, LA
We The City Conference, Vancouver, Canada
WESTAF Public Art Symposium, Honolulu, HI
Women Motion Picture & Television Fund, Los Angeles, CA
Women’s Leadership Conference, Las Vegas, NV
World 50, New Orleans, LA
World Education Congress, Las Vegas, NV
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Youth Art Camp, Almaty, Kazakhstan


Stay in Touch

Candy Chang

Before I Die


Stay posted on Candy Chang’s upcoming work:



Ted Chiang

The Middle Passage
James Hollis

Just Kids
Patti Smith

Einstein’s Dreams
Alan Lightman

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature
William James

The History of Western Philosophy
Bertrand Russell

The I Ching (Book of Changes)

J.G. Ballard

White Noise
Don DeLillo

The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age
K.G. Pontus Hulten, ed. Museum of Modern Art, 1968

Devil in the White City
Erik Larson

The Little Prince
Antoine Saint-Exupery



In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar Wai

Blade Runner
Ridley Scott

First Reformed
Paul Schrader

The Century of the Self
Adam Curtis

The City of Lost Children
Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro

8 1/2
Federico Fellini

Marjorie Prime
Michael Almereyda

Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola

Before Sunrise / Before Sunset / Before Midnight 
Richard Linklater

New York: A Documentary Film
Ric Burns

Mulholland Drive
David Lynch

Denis Villeneuve

Carl Sagan



Adagio for Strings
Samuel Barber

Perfect Life

Sister Part 1
Cliff Martinez

A Trop Répéter Bien
Alice Dona

Angor Wat Finale
Michael Galasso, Shigeru Umebayashi

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Aphex Twin

Some Velvet Morning
Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra

Man Machine

Perfect Day
Lou Reed

Francoise Hardy

Be Brave
Tropic of Cancer

The Voice of Love
Angelo Badalamenti