Today: May 29, 2024

The ‘Secrets’ are coming to Southern Nov. 15


Catherine Groux

Photo Editor

Five years ago Frank Warren began handing out postcards to strangers on the street and leaving them in public places as the beginning of what he called a “community art project.”

The postcards invited people to send Warren their deepest secrets on their own creatively-decorated, anonymous postcards. Five years later, Warren cannot believe how his Post Secret project has grown.

Since the project began, Warren said he has received about half a million postcards, which he has published in four books. The secrets on the postcards expressed topics such as personal fears, religion, sexuality and individual shortcomings.

Considering the huge number of postcards he has received, Warren said he is not yet sure what draws people to send him secrets they have never shared with anyone else.

“I think someone who is sending the secret doesn’t even know,” he said in a phone interview. “I think sometimes it’s a way to get things off their chest, like the person who writes on their Starbucks cup, ‘I serve decaf to people who are rude.’”

While he does not know why people send him their secrets, Warren acknowledges the power of doing so.

“It sounds like an innocent thing to do, but it can change lives. It can bring people together and it can tear people apart,” said Warren.

As Warren continues to find 100 to 200 postcards in his mailbox every day, many people wonder how he knows the secrets sent to him are real. Warren, however, does not believe it is easy to say whether
his Post Secrets are true or not.

“I think that the secrets I receive have different levels of truth,” he said. “When you’re talking about self-revelation it is not just black and white.”

While these secrets written on Post Secret postcards have sparked public interest, Warren said the handmade artwork used to decorate the postcards is just as amazing.

“It shows that there are a lot more artists out there than are labeled artists,” he said.

Now that the project has expanded into an online blog, an art exhibit and several books, Warren does not know how he can stop accepting the secrets of others.

“I don’t know how it’s going to end,” he said. “It keeps developing further and further. I don’t think I can ever shut it off. I hope they never stop.”

Warren is scheduled to appear in the Lyman Center on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. At his performance, Warren
said he plans to share videos and images of the postcards he has received in the past five years.
He also
said he will show the postcards publishers would not allow him to print in his books.

Warren will also be available after the show to sign copies of his books, which are available in the university bookstore.

Tickets are available for $10 for students in the Lyman Center.

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