"Before I Die" wall being built in Tampa

Inspirational art installation on Tampa Riverwalk
Posted at 4:46 PM, Aug 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-23 16:46:09-04

In the spot where Tampa's Trump Tower was supposed to go, someone is building a wall.

But instead of separating people, the purpose of this wall is to bring people together.

"Doing something like this is what can help you get a little faith in humanity," says organizer Loran Jarrett with a smile.

What's given her a little faith in humanity is something called a "Before I Die" wall.

The first one was made by an artist in New Orleans a few years ago after Hurricane Katrina.

Since then, these walls have been built all over the world -- over 1,000 so far across 70 countries -- where people can come and finish the open-ended statement: "Before I die I want to ____."

A new one being built along the Tampa Riverwalk will be the first in the Tampa Bay Area, and it is being built by the non-profit community group Leadership Tampa Bay.

"There's something very emotional very moving and thought-provoking about thinking about your own mortality," says Jarrett, who is leading the project for the Leadership Tampa Bay group, and is a Vice President of Business Strategy at United Landmark Associates in Tampa.

Jarrett tells ABC Action News the project is very personal to her.

"The first time I saw this wall was in New Orleans was about 2 years ago. And I wrote on the wall at that time that I was going to develop a scholarship for my alma matter," said Jarrett, "And I actually found myself thinking about it quite a bit because I put it out there, i put in the universe, I put it on the wall."

Earlier this year, Jarrett's goal became reality: she and her husband started a scholarship at Florida State University.

"I hope people can have the same experience i did," says Jarrett.

This wall will be completed Friday evening, and in 2017 the wall will be moved to a permanent spot in the new Armature Works building in Tampa Heights.

A second, temporary, "Before I Die" wall is also being created in mural-form for the SHINE mural event in St. Petersburg.