About “I Wish Fifth Ward…”

“I wish Fifth Ward…” is a chalkboard art instillation piece whereby residents can express their desires, wishes, and concerns for the future of Houston’s Fifth Ward community. Visitors and passersby can use provided chalk to write their thoughts by completing the sentence “I wish Fifth Ward…” The Fifth Ward’s version of this public chalkboard phenomena is a unique avenue by which residents can express their concerns and desires for the community, while garnering attention from friends and partners in Houston and abroad.

The goals for the board include the following:

  • brighten the community with new art installation
  • bring the community together to express concerns and desires for the neighborhood
  • attract community members, via location in high-traffic, visible area
  • bring attention to Fifth Ward from greater Houston area
  • engage community artists, thinkers, and common people
  • inspire community action
  • transform an abandoned grocery store into constructive space



How, then, does the chalkboard work? Free chalk is provided in basket by board and passerby and visitors use the chalk to write their dreams, aspirations, and wishes for the community. The Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation members photograph and record responses, which are updated on this blog!

“I Wish Fifth Ward…” is a part of a larger international movement known as “Before I Die.”  It is recognized as a global, community-oriented public art campaign that has inspired thousands of people to think critically and creatively about their aspirations and goals locally and in life. More than 100 walls have been installed in over 10 languages and in over 30 different countries. The very first board was installed in New Orleans by renowned artist and urban planner Candy Chang. The campaign has received attention from NBC, CNN, TED, and Oprah, among other prestigious organizations.

The Fifth Ward’s version of the movement is located at 4101 Lyons Avenue, at the intersection of Lyons and Benson. Come drop by for a visit, and while you’re there, write what you wish for Houston’s Fifth Ward community!


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