PostSecret makes its way to Rochester

Sara Patalita
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There are strings of colorful, confessional postcards hanging in the skyway, just outside the public library’s second-floor meeting rooms.

Some of them are heart-warming ("Music gives me meaning!") while others are mildly heartbreaking ("I feel like I live in a gray cloud…").

Others are somewhere in-between. ("Flying bugs creep me out!" "I think the world would be a better place if robots were in charge instead of humans.")

That’s the PostSecret way of things, Sara Patalita says.

Patalita, the head of reference at Rochester Public Library, has followed the blog project PostSecret for years. She’s seen the best and worst of the anonymous, secret-filled postcards collected by Frank Warren, who started the project nearly a decade and a half ago.


And now she’s helping to bring PostSecret to Rochester, in partnership with the Rochester Art Center and this summer’s Mental Health: Mind Matters exhibit.

"To me, it seemed like a natural fit," Patalita says. "The end result of PostSecret is getting people to talk about the problems they don’t say out loud."

Warren started the project in the early 2000s by giving out postcards in the hundreds and asking people to write in with their secrets. RPL is doing something similar by soliciting PostSecret cards from Rochesterites, which will be on display for a time before they join the official project.

Locals can use one of the postcard "creation stations" in the library, or make them at the Rochester Art Center and Canvas & Chardonnay in town.

The library and the art center will accept postcard submissions through Monday, July 29.

Warren will speak on the project and its connection to mental health care on Wednesday, July 31, in the Mayo Civic Center.

Those who registered for free tickets online should be seated at 5:15 p.m., Patalita says. Anyone else should arrive around 5:45, when ticketless listeners will be seated.

Warren begins speaking at 6 p.m.


While there were a limited quantity of free tickets available online, and those have been snapped up, Patalita says anyone who wants to see Warren speak should come at 5:45 p.m. to be seated in the 100 unticketed seats still available.

Because the event is free, she anticipates that many of the people who took free tickets will not come, meaning that far more than 100 seats will likely be left open for latecomers.

"I’d love to pack Presentation Hall," Patalita says. "If you show up, there’s a really good chance we’ll get you in."

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