Psst!!! Intimate Secrets Revealed at PostSecret Exhibit

Posted: September 29, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

There’s a certain freedom in it: confessing your deepest secret anonymously to the world on a postcard. But Frank Warren’s community-art-project-turned-cult-phenomenon also has had a bonding effect – capturing the humanity, and humor, in everyone.

In November 2004, Warren, of Germantown, Md., began inviting strangers to mail him their most personal secrets on homemade postcards. The postcards exhibit a range of emotion and experience, from secrets as silly as, “Sometimes I think celebrities just pretend to be Scientologists so they can be friends with Tom Cruise,” to as heartbreaking as, “When the doctor said you were ill, my first thoughts were about how your illness would negatively affect me. Over 15 years later, I still feel ashamed when I think about it.”

Nearly two years later, Warren has received more than 70,000 postcards from across the country and around the world. He began posting the cards online at www.postsecret.com, and the web site became so popular it inspired an anthology, “PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives,” that has become a best-selling book.

Next week, PostSecret will come to Mason as part of the Fall for the Book Festival. Beginning Monday, Oct. 2, an exhibition of original postcards will be on display in two venues at Mason’s Fairfax Campus: Gallery 123 in the Johnson Center and the Grand Tier (third floor) of the Center for the Arts. Several enlarged reproductions of postcards will also be displayed, along with a video about the project’s history.

Warren himself will also appear at two events during the festival: first at a gallery reception and book signing at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, in Gallery 123, and then at a formal presentation and discussion of his work at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, in the Concert Hall of the Center for the Arts. A book signing follows that event.

“The PostSecret project has really become an international phenomenon,” says Art Taylor, marketing and programming coordinator for the festival. “We are glad to embrace literature in all its forms and to explore the way that writing and art can go hand-in-hand. This really pushes the idea of creative nonfiction to its limits, and we are excited to have Frank Warren and the exhibit here at Mason.”

For more information about PostSecret or other Fall for the Book events, visit www.fallforthebook.org.

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