At the close of 2013, it’s a good time to check in on the Bucket List Chalkboard in Shreveport. The giant chalkboard with a bold yellow frame has three words across the top: “Before I die…” People step up on a platform, pick their chalk color, and write or draw what they feel.
Plain Dealing, La., artist Megan Davis-Taylor designed and built the chalkboard through a grant from the Shreveport Regional Arts Council. It’s been traveling around Shreveport Common since September.
“It just gives people a chance to look and say, Well, before I die, it’s almost the end of the year, what am I going to do next year? It prompts people to think and make a decision about what they want for the New Year. How do they want to change their life? What goals do they want to set?" Davis-Taylor said.
By giving people a blank slate in a public space, it allows them to dream, share and be inspired by other chalkboard contributions, according to Davis-Taylor, who created the art installation with her husband, Richard Taylor. Throughout the fall, she would wipe the chalkboard clean on a weekly basis because it would get filled up. She thinks this commission has changed her as an artist.
“With most of my projects now, I’m writing down what I want to achieve, and I’m not giving any excuses to them anymore. 2013 has been one of my best years as an artist as far as getting myself out there," Davis-Taylor said.
The Bucket List Chalkboard is currently located on the outskirts of Oakland Cemetery in downtown Shreveport. Davis-Taylor finds the location eerie but meaningful. She said the backdrop of aging tombstones is a stark reminder of the inevitability of death. But the colorful chalkboard emphasizes how much more there is to do in life.