when we think we are keeping a secret
that secret is actually keeping us."
– Frank Warren, founder and curator of PostSecret
I've had a postcard collection since childhood. Perhaps that's why the exhibition, PostSecret, held such allure -- however, these postcards were created and sent to share secrets.
“Courage can be more important than artistic training or technique in creating meaningful and lasting art."
Frank Warren started the project in 2004 by handing out blank postcards to strangers and leaving them in public places. Each card invited people to anonymously share a secret: something that was true and had never been shared with anyone before. He has now received over half a million postcards, some of which have been included in exhibitions and best-selling books. A show of about 400 of the postcards is on view at the Foothills Art Center in Golden, Colorado through June 26, 2011.
"PostSecret creates this model of a safe, non-judgmental place to share your secrets where you don’t feel weird or different or strange or alone.”
Some of the cards were carefully designed, others simply words, but all shared a secret -- whether poignant, shocking, or hilarious. Most were quite touching, some easy to relate to, others reflecting difficult experiences -- all heartfelt. Each postcard becomes a piece of personal artistic expression and the overall installation is quite emotional to experience.
I was also able to attend Frank Warren's amazing lecture about the Post Secret project and his mission to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Besides sharing his story, he showed postcards that were not able to be published in the books and allowed the audience, many of whom were in tears, time to express their secrets. His project really highlights the ability of creative expression to be an incredibly positive outlet for healing.
The PostSecret blog, the largest advertisement-free blog in the world, continues to showcase incoming postcards, an ongoing communal art project, with over 445 million views. The next exhibition will be at MoMA in July. I recommend a visit to this project in one of its many forms -- via blog, book, or exhibition -- it's truly thought-provoking and eye-opening. And perhaps you'll want to submit a secret of your own.