Frank Warren—often referred to as the most trusted stranger in America—has received more than a million secrets in the mail since 2004, when he started PostSecret, a community art project where people anonymously mail him their secrets on a postcard. At times hilarious and heartbreaking, the secrets reflect complex issues of intimacy, stigma, meaning, humor, and desire.
Warren, who considers himself an “accidental artist,” distributed 3,000 self-addressed postcards in the Washington, D.C. area in 2004 with a message inviting strangers to share a secret with him, with the stipulation that it had to be true and not previously disclosed.
The website debuted shortly thereafter, and people have been mailing him their secrets ever since. New secrets are posted to the website every Sunday. The sharing of secrets is designed to empower, inspire, heal, and instill a sense of hope in those who participate.
Many postcards feature elaborate artwork and delicate handwriting confessing a never-before told secret. In 2017, the National Postal Museum featured more than 500 postcards submitted to PostSecret.
Warren is the author of six books, multiple museum exhibitions, and he travels the world speaking at universities and conferences, and events, revealing humor, heartbreak, and humanity in the secrets he receives.
He was the featured speaker January 16th at Montana State University Billings during a week-long series of events titled the Power of One, focused on resilience and celebrating the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as “PostSecretU,” where MSUB students shared their own secrets, which will be displayed on campus as part of the collaborative, community art project.
Kristin Peterman, Director, Campus Activities & Engagement at MSUB, said that all secrets people are sharing will be put together with students in culmination in a public art piece that will be placed on display.
Resources for those who may be struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts may reach someone 24 hours a day at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.
Resources for students on the MSUB campus include the Phoenix Center, committed to reducing and eradicating the incidences of sexual violence. A twenty-four hour hotline is available at 406-794-3829.
Other resources for students include:
To share a secret to PostSecret, mail a postcard to
13345 Copper Ridge Rd.
Germantown, Maryland, 20874-3454