Photo by Mack Sullivan

Artist Bio

Candy Chang is a Taiwanese-American artist whose work focuses on public space, psychology, and the handwritten word. Her generative practice includes participatory installations that collect written reflections, as well as assemblages of these reflections through painting and video. She is the steward of over one million handwritten anxieties, hopes, and insights in the early 21st century. 

She is most known for her public installation Before I Die, which reimagines how the walls of our cities can help us grapple with mortality and meaning as a community today. Over 5,000 Before I Die walls have been created by communities in over 75 counties, and The Atlantic called it “one of the most creative community projects ever.” Trained in architecture, urban planning, and design, she started creating street art while running a record label and then used the same tactics to create participatory art addressing the state of our neighborhoods. After struggling with grief and depression, she used this medium to reflect on the state of our psyches. She has created a monument of over 50,000 anxieties and hopessecular spaces for confessions, and electrified shrines on emotional barriers. Her ritual on loss was a 2021 New York Times Critic’s Pick. She has worked with organizations including Art Production Fund, the Rubin Museum of Art, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and the Annenberg Foundation. She often collaborates with James A. Reeves to merge participatory art with site-specific video installations.

She is a TED Senior Fellow, Urban Innovation Fellow, and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and was named one of the Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design. She is a recipient of grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, Hemera Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation. Her work has been exhibited in the Venice Architecture Biennale, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. After years in New York, New Orleans, and Helsinki, she now lives in the Mojave Desert.


For speaking requests, please contact:
The Lavin Agency
USA: 212-242-1212
Canada: 416-979-7979

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Note: Sometimes I can’t respond to all emails due to my schedule. Thanks for understanding and for your interest!

Recent Public Art & Exhibitions

The Nightly News, MSU Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, March 4 – May 28, 2023.

Before I Die, Wonderspaces, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 15, 2021 – present, 2023.

Before I Die, Wonderspaces, Scottsdale, Arizona, June 30, 2021 – present, 2023.

The City as a Common Good, Timișoara Architecture Biennial, Timișoara, Romania, September 23 – October 23, 2022

The Nightly News, The American School In London, London, England, February – April, 2022

After the End, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York, September 15 – December 6, 2021.

Light the Barricades, WALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine, The Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 24 -July 25, 2021.

A Collective Curiosity: Her Voice in the Arts, Lamont Gallery, Exeter, New Hampshire, January 19 – June 6, 2021.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California, October 12, 2019 – February 16, 2020.

Confessions, Elsewhere, Wonderspaces, Scottsdale, Arizona, October 12, 2019 – January 1, 2020.

Light the Barricades, WALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine, Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, California, September 5 – December 29, 2019.

Art of the City: Postmodern to Post-Katrina, The Helis Foundation and Historic New Orleans Collection, April 6 – October 6, 2019.

Confessions, In Common, Wonderspaces, San Diego, California, June 7 – September 1, 2019.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 26 – September 2, 2019.

A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful, The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, New York, February 10, 2018 – January 7, 2019.

Before I Die, Arts Center of Mississippi, Greater Jackson Arts Council, Jackson, Mississippi, 2019.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., March 30, 2018 – January 21, 2019.

Confessions, Karoyan Gallery and Moscow Cinema, Yerevan, Armenia, October 10 – November 2, 2017

Onaeba, Tokyo Institute of Photography, Tokyo, Japan, 2017.

Confessions, Merge Festival, London, United Kingdom, 2017.

The Atlas of Tomorrow, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2016.

Three Experiments in the City by Candy Chang, Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece, 2016.

By the People: Designing a Better America, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, New York, 2016.

See full CV


Awards & Fellowships

American School in London Innovator-in-Residence (2022)

National Endowment for the Arts Grant (2021)

EPIC Impact Society Artist Award (2021)

Archipelago Artist Residency, Korpo, Finland (2019)

Hemera Foundation Tending Space Fellowship (2018)

University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award (2017)

NES Artist Residency, Skagaströnd, Iceland (2017)

Hangar Artist Residency, Lisbon, Portugal (2017)

National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Creativity Connects Grant (2016)

Tony Goldman Visionary Artist Award (2016)

Lakkos Artist Residency, Heraklion, Greece (2016)

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Humanities Award (2016)

Puffin Foundation Grant (2015)

Louisiana Cultural Economy Color Our World Award (2014)

Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design, Impact Design Hub (2013)

The Creativity 50, Advertising Age (2013)

The Good 100, GOOD Magazine (2013)

World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2012)

Art Production Fund Artist-in-Residence, Las Vegas NV (2012)

Maryland Institute College of Art Samson Feldman Artist-in-Residence (2012)

TED Senior Fellowship (2011)

Rockefeller Foundation Tulane University Urban Innovation Fellowship (2011)

Black Rock Arts Foundation Grant (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)

Creative Capital of Culture 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 (2008)

Sappi Ideas That Matter Grant (2008)

Global Studio Johannesburg Fellowship (2007)

Columbia University Award for Outstanding Contribution to Leadership in Urban Planning Education (2007)

Earth Institute Nairobi Studio Fellowship (2006)

Spatial Information Design Lab New Orleans Fellowship (2006)

Global Studio Vancouver Fellowship (2006)


“Before I Die is merely one of the most creative community projects ever.”
—The Atlantic

“Memorial art works are notoriously difficult to pull off. Yet Candy Chang and James A. Reeves, two New York artists who have created similar installations in the past, hit just the right tone with After the End, a participatory work in the Historic Chapel at Green-Wood Cemetery.”
—The New York Times

“Candy Chang’s work at the intersection of public art, community engagement, and urban design touches on every aspect of art’s role in society and contributes to meaningful placemaking in our communities.”
—Public Art Review

“Candy Chang’s art serves as a wake-up call in our fast-paced digital age… She transforms nondescript urban spaces into compelling works that inspire the often device-obsessed masses to engage with each other, and the world around them.”
—Ad Age

“Chang’s emotionally driven projects prove we may have more in common with our neighbors than we think.”
— Forbes

“The notion of turning neglected space into an active invitation to engage with your community and get to know your neighbors is a wonderful embodiment of enlightened urbanism. What’s more, it’s a reminder that not all meaningful social platforms are accessed through a screen.”
—Brain Pickings

See more press



The Varieties of Religious Experience
William James

Stories of Your Life / Exhalation
Ted Chiang

Just Kids
Patti Smith

White Noise
Don DeLillo

The Middle Passage
James Hollis

Understanding Comics
Scott McCloud

The Fifth Child
Doris Lessing

J.G. Ballard

The Story of Philosophy
Will Durant

Devil in the White City
Erik Larson

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

Children of Men
P.D. James

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
William Whyte

The Little Prince
Antoine Saint-Exupery

The I Ching
(Book of Changes)


In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar Wai

Blade Runner
Ridley Scott

Everything Everywhere All at Once
Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

The Century of the Self
Adam Curtis

Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola

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

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring
Kim Ki-duk

8 1/2
Federico Fellini

Mulholland Drive
David Lynch

Apocalypse Now
Francis Ford Coppola

Ex Machina
Alex Garland

Before Sunrise / Before Sunset / Before Midnight
Richard Linklater

First Reformed
Paul Schrader

Carl Sagan

New York: A Documentary Film
Ric Burns


Sister Part 1
Cliff Martinez

Crawl of Cthulu

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Far From the Atmosphere IV
Chihei Hatakeyama

The Voice of Love
Angelo Badalamenti

A Trop Répéter Bien
Alice Dona


Some Velvet Morning
Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra

Be Brave
Tropic of Cancer

I Will Return

Francoise Hardy

Aphex Twin

Spectacle of Ritual
Kali Malone

Cosmic Dancer
T. Rex

Symphony No.7 in A Major