I Wish This Was began in New Orleans in November 2010. It was inspired by vacant storefronts. There are a lot of them where Candy lives in New Orleans. There are also a lot of people who need and want things. What if we could easily voice what we want, where we want it? How can we influence the businesses and services in our neighborhoods?
As an experiment, Candy created fill-in-the-blank stickers that say “I wish this was ____.” With support from the Ethnographic Terminalia exhibit, she placed boxes of free stickers in businesses around the city and posted grids of blank stickers and a permanent marker on vacant storefronts to invite passersby to write their thoughts. The stickers are vinyl and they can be easily removed without damaging property. Responses ranged from the functional to the poetic: I wish this was… a butcher shop, a community garden, a bike rack, an affordable farmer’s market, a Chinese restaurant, a place to sit and talk, Brad Pitt’s house, real soul food, a dancing school, full of nymphomaniacs with PhDs, Heaven. It’s a fun, low-barrier tool to provide civic input onsite, and the responses reflect the hopes, dreams, and colorful imaginations of different neighborhoods.