Chelsea Asplund/The AS Review

Postcards with secrets from students on display in the 'You've Got Secrets' exhibition in the VU Gallery. The show runs until Jan. 27. Photo by Daniel Berman/The AS Review

The homemade 4-by-6-inch postcard is a basic white, with the image of a desktop computer in the middle. Taking up the screen is another image of a single eyeball, whose pupil reflects back the Facebook logo.

The card reads, “I look at pictures on Facebook to see everything I wasn’t invited to.”

Another card has a festive Santa Claus with a bushy white beard and reads in Sharpie, “Finding out you’re not who I thought you were was like finding out Santa didn’t exist again.”

The two cards are the most recent uploads on the website of popular artist Frank Warren, who has been collecting anonymous postcards from people all over the world, all bearing personal secrets. He calls his project PostSecret.  Since 2005 the project has expanded to four books, numerous art exhibits, sold-out events and tours all over the country.
And now he has made his way to Western.

On Thursday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m., Warren will speak in the Performing Arts Center Concert Hall. Tickets for students cost $15 and $20 for general admission. They can be purchased as the Western Box Office in the PAC lobby.

Associated Students Productions Special Events Coordinator Maddy Vonhoff said her office received a notice that Frank Warren would be available for a speaking engagement on campus. She said she thought it would be the perfect opportunity to coordinate a gallery full of postcards from Western students.

Photo by Daniel Berman/The AS Review

“It’s more personalized to Western students because each secret is a part of the life of the person that sent it in and the art reflects that, as opposed to viewing art sent in from an outside source,” Vonhoff said. “This event is a reflection of our campus.”

The Viking Union Gallery, ASP Civil Controversy, the AS Disability Outreach Center and Special Events all collected postcard submissions from students for the gallery show “You’ve Got Secrets.” The exhibition consists of postcards designed by students dangling from the ceiling, with spotlights hitting each one distinctly.

The secrets, some simply written on and others intricately collaged, range in topic from family and friends to body image and sex. The exhibit will be in the gallery until Jan. 27. “I think because students see secrets from other students, they will be more encouraged to get help if they need it,” Vonhoff said. “I think students will feel more connected to the Western community because of this.”

Back in the summer of 2004, Warren began an art project where he dumped messages in bottles into the ocean, many of which washed up on a beach in Maryland. The art consisted of postcards cut into the shape of a hand, dangling from a cork inside a wine bottle. This anonymous bottled art gained local, national and international attention and spawned his PostSecret project.

“PostSecret is a tribute to the inner strength of people,” Vonhoff said. “It helps one realize they are not alone and although life can be hard, PostSecret is a tribute to the inner strength of people.”