Damage to the “Before I die” mural—find out how to stay involved

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Before I die mural on Morris Ave
Don’t miss the chance to make your mark on the “Before I die” mural when Marcus Fetch repaints it. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

This morning, the beloved “Before I die” mural on Morris Avenue was caught in a fire. We caught up with Marcus Fetch, the artist behind the mural, to see what’s next.

Get to know the history + artist behind the “Before I die” mural

Morris Ave. fire
Our team caught up with Marcus Fetch and Jay Brandrup after the mural caught fire. Photo via Kinetic Communications

Wondering what happened? Boxes that were laying outside the mural were unfortunately set on fire, leading to damage to the mural.

Before we get into how you can help, let’s talk about the mural’s amazing history. After seeing “Before I die” murals pop up across America, Marcus Fetch and Jay Brandrup of Kinetic Communications decided to add a permanent one to Morris Ave.

After fundraising and support from community members like Rob Buddo at REV Birmingham, Marcus Fetch created the mural in March 2019. The mural became even more meaningful to Marcus after a close friend of his, Juby, passed away as he was working on it.

“The project became a lot more personal and important to me as I was dealing with that grief while I was painting the wall. We left the center of the wall blank, and I did the first tribute to Juby Maggo. Since then, we’ve allowed different artists to do new art pieces in the centerpiece.”

Marcus Fetch

The “Before I die” mural is an ever-changing community space. There are blank spots for people walking by to share what they want to do before they die. They periodically wipe the blanks clean, so new people have the chance to make their mark.

“For anybody that loves the wall, I insist they add their thoughts, whether comedic or personal or philosophical.”

Jay Brandrup, Owner, Kinetic Communications

What’s next for the mural?

Morris Ave. fire
Stay tuned for updates. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Marcus Fetch and Jay Brandrup will work together to plan what’s next for repainting the mural and refreshing the space.

For now, the best way to get involved with the mural’s renovation is to join Marcus Fetch’s Facebook group, COLOR BHAM. He’ll share more info about the mural’s next steps and other collaborative mural projects throughout the city.

“I’m going to be brainstorming about different things we can do to make it even bigger and better.”

Marcus Fetch

To keep up with the mural, don’t forget to follow Marcus Fetch on Instagram + join the Color Bham Facebook group.

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Cecilia Wood
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