Featuring a collection of postcards anonymously submitted from around the world, the Pauly Friedman Art Gallery at Misericordia University is presenting, "PostSecretX," an art installation that explores the impact of secrets, secret-sharing, and artistic expression of secrets among young adults from April 6 through June 9. The exhibit explores the power of secrets, open discussions about issues surrounding mental health, and helps promote a supportive campus environment for students who are affected by mental health issues.
Founded by Frank Warren in 2004, "PostSecret" is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of an artistically decorated postcard. To date, more than 1 million postcards offering highly personal secrets have been mailed to Warren from around the world.
Collections have been displayed at the White House and Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Many of them are now being circulated in museums, colleges and galleries throughout the U.S.
Warren, a nationally known Active Minds speaker and author, will present a free lecture and book signing on Wednesday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m. in Lemmond Theatre in Walsh Hall. He will discuss the history of "PostSecret" and encourage students to speak out and create support networks to assist each other. Warren has appeared on "Good Morning America," "The Today Show," CBC and BBC to talk about the project that has raised more than $1 million for suicide prevention. His efforts earned him the Mental Health Advocacy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, and the opportunity to speak at the White House in 2013 to share his thoughts on mental wellness. All six of his "PostSecret" books have been featured on the New Your Times bestsellers' list, with "PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death and God," reaching number one in the rankings.
"For the installation at Misericordia, we will highlight postcards relevant to young adults, in particular female students and students who are mothers," said Lalaine Little, director, Pauly Friedman Art Gallery. "We are working with the Student Activities Office, the Counseling and Psychological Services Center, and the Student Success Center to collect and include anonymous submissions by students at Misericordia University."
In support of the upcoming "Pathways Out of Poverty" Conference being organized by the Ruth Matthews Bourger Women with Children Program on May 22, the Friedman Art Gallery will devote a section of the "PostSecretX" exhibition to increasing awareness of the impact of poverty on academic progress, especially for women.
"We seek to demonstrate how the creative process makes the invisible visible," said Little. "These anonymous postcards will illustrate responses to the question, 'What are the specific obstacles for women, women with children, and children of single mothers as they pursue an education?'
"We are proud to say this exhibition follows the legacy of female artists such as Hannah Hoch, Barbara Kruger and the Guerilla Girls, who have used paper and collage media as a catalyst for social action," she added.
Among the postcard messages on display will be, "I was surprised when I got laid off. And sad. Now I'm relieved and hoping they don't ask me back," "I am 38 and don't have one single close friend. But I'm not giving up yet," and "I got in trouble when my boss found out I was being sexually harassed." Parental discretion is advised since some of the postcards deal with suicide, substance abuse and topics that may be sensitive to young visitors.
Postcards for future "PostSecret" consideration can be sent to Frank Warren at PostSecret, 28241 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677, or email secret images to Frank@PostSecret.com.