POSTSECRET FOUNDER SPEAKS; WORKS ON DISPLAY

The University at Albany Performing Arts Center, operating under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences, is pleased to present PostSecret creator Frank Warren on February 8 and the works from his latest book in an exhibit running from January 19 through February 11.

PostSecret originated from a community art project based on a simple concept: asking people to anonymously send a secret on a decorated postcard. In 2004, Warren handed out 3,000 postcards to strangers and invited people to share a secret. Today, Warren has received more than 450,000 postcards and they continue to come at a rate of about 1,000 per week. With secrets spanning from sexual taboos and criminal activity to confessions of secret beliefs, hidden acts of kindness, shocking habits and fears, PostSecret has become a safe haven where people can hear unheard voices and share untold stories.

Frank Warren is the sole founder and curator of the PostSecret Project.  Warren was born in Arizona and went to high school in Illinois. He later graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in social science and moved to the Washington, DC area to start a business. Warren now calls Germantown, Maryland home. He continues to call himself an “accidental artist” because he has no artist background or training. “I have been asked many times why I started this. It still feels to me as though this project found me. All I try to do is make the right decisions every day to protect the integrity of the project – and learn to trust the journey.”

USA Today called Warren, “An award-winning blogger, a first-time author, an artist with a traveling exhibit, a possible documentary subject, the inspiration for a music video and the all-around media ‘it’ boy of the moment.” The PostSecret phenomenon has spawned an award-winning web site, five bestselling books, two successful traveling exhibitions and a public speaking tour.

The PostSecret web site (www.postsecret.com) is updated by Warren each Sunday and receives over 3,000,000 visitors every month.  In 2006, the website was awardedsix weblog awards including “Best American Blog” and “Blog of the Year.”  In 2009, Forbes magazine listed Warren as the number four most popular “web celeb” behind celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, tech blogger Michael Arrington and Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg.com.  Recently the PostSecret website received its 250,000,000 hit and was named Weblog of the Year at the Seventh Annual Weblog Awards.

Warren's first book, PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives (ReganBooks) is aNew York Times best-seller. He followed it up with My Secret: A PostSecret Book, The Secret Lives of Men and Women: A PostSecret Book and A Lifetime of Secrets. In 2009, he released a book focusing on religion and spirituality, PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God, which reached #1 on the New York Timesbest-seller list.

In 2005, The All American Rejects approached Warren about using images of actual PostSecret images in their Dirty Little Secret music video. They offered Warren $1,000 but instead he asked them to donate $2,000 to 1(800) SUICIDE where Warren is a volunteer. The donation was made and the music video became one of the most requested on MTV.  Over the years, the PostSecret project has donated tens of thousands of dollars to this suicide prevention hotline.

One of Warren’s traveling exhibits will be on display in the Lab Theatre of the UAlbany Performing Arts Center from January 19 through February 11, 2011.  Daily hours are noon until 6pm. PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death and God presents more than 270 artfully crafted postcards that unearth a myriad of private thoughts concerning spirituality and religion. Warren explains the extraordinary effect of these revelations. “Every secret is unique, like a fingerprint, but at a deeper level this community of confessions reveals how we are all connected by our surprising and soulful spiritual secrets.”  The exhibit is on loan from International Arts & Artists and will be at UAlbany between stints at the University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson and the Mundelein Center for the Fine and Performing Arts at Loyola University in Chicago.

On Tuesday, February 8 at 7pm (SOLD OUT) and 10pm (SOLD OUT), Warren will appear in the UAlbany Performing Arts Center’s Main Theatre.  Fondly considered “the most trusted stranger in America,” he will share the stories behind the memorable postcards and secrets he has received. Following the 7pm presentation, Warren will meet audience members and sign copies of his books. Books will be for sale courtesy of the University Bookstore.

Admission for Warren’s presentation is $15 and reservations for the 10pm show can be made through the UAlbany Performing Arts Center Box Office at (518) 442-3997 or tickets@albany.edu.  UAlbany students may reserve one free ticket by showing their student ID at the Box Office.  Admission to the exhibit is free although donations are welcome.

For reservations and further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997.

The PostSecret exhibition was organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC, in cooperation with Frank Warren, and is presented by the Performing Arts Center with support from University Auxiliary Services and the Grandma Moses Fund through the Alumni Association.

Frank Warren’s appearance is presented  by a partnership of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program, Performing Arts Center and Counseling Center with support from the Holiday Inn Express, Student Association and University Auxiliary Services.