“Revealing Secrets”


Saturday, December 6, 2014

How many people exhibited objects?

20 Artists from Clarity Arts

How many people came but did not bring objects?



Santa Cruz MAH

Claraty Arts Studio & Gallery

Posted by Pop Up Museum Facilitator Zealand Reynolds

What was it about?

We all have secrets, and most of us have spread a few. This Pop Up Museum explored secrets as a social and personal phenomena, and invited YOU to add to the exhibit by sharing your own secrets. Through several interactive exhibits Claraty Arts created a forum to to let your secrets go in a safe space.

How did it go?

On Friday we brought the Pop Up Museum on home to the MAH. It was our pleasure to collaborate with the Clarity Arts Center. Claraty Arts provides a space for individuals with intellectual or physical disabilities to create art, explore their identity, and express themselves. They have a local studio and gallery with 20 artist that create art there five days a week.

For this Pop Up Clarity dreamt up and created five, yes five, interactive exhibits! The exhibits all focused on the common theme of secrets. The fine folks at clarity like how unifying secrets are, we all have them. Whether they are big or little, serious or silly, maybe they are your own or other’s, whatever the case we are all carrying some around with us. The different stations each focused on exploring different types of secrets. My personal favorite was a station that invited the participant to chose a color paper representing who you were keeping a secret from, wether family, friends, coworkers or significant other. Once you chose the paper you wrote down the secret you were keeping from the individual and then slipped it into a paper shredder sitting atop a glass case. You were able to watch as you secret was safely set free along with so many others. The colors mingled and mixed in the box, but you were still able to discern certain trends, like who people were keeping the most secrets from. (From my observations I would say most people have secrets from their significant other.) This process was really liberating. Not only were participants able to tell their secrets, they were able to do so in a safe way. Furthermore, by seeing all of the secrets contained in that one box, it somehow took any negative power out of your secret. It was very cathartic, as were all of the other exhibits.

One that many people really enjoyed for the therapeutic and entertainments value, was a bathroom stall constructed purposely for writing on the walls. Everyone has seen etching in stalls spilling secrets about who people love or hate, but the secrets that were scrawled on these walls spoke to hidden fantasies and wishes, dark pasts, and hopes for the future. The outside of the stall welcomed anyone to scrawl their secrets across it, but the inside was reserved for those over 18, leading to rather powerful content often about sexuality. At times during the night their was a line for the bathroom, and as I heard many people comment on how cathartic the experience was.

In addition to those two secret stations, there was a living room area that welcomed participants to type their secrets via typewriter on a slip of paper then hide them in the area as well as try an find other secrets that had been left behind. There was a classroom area set up facing a chalkboard that instructed those at the desks to write down rules they had broke on binder paper then leave them in the desk for others to read, or just read the confessions that others had left behind. The fifth station was visually stunning with strands of paper cranes extending out of a cage to the ceiling. Framing the cage were two branches for participants to hang cranes of their own on. These cranes carried people messages of things they would like to let go of on their wings.

This Pop Up was extremely rewarding. The theme was chosen for its’ inclusive nature, which was evidenced by the crowds that continually flowed through the room. Furthermore the inclusivity of the exhibit was very powerful, as it was created by a group of artist who are often exclude or treated differently due to perceived differences. Through their art they were able to break down barriers and show everyone who attended how we are all similar. The responses I heard to people secrets were all of encouragement and relief. This modern day confessional brought the community together to discussion topics that are often hidden from the public.


Santa Cruz MAH

Claraty Arts Studio and Gallery

Check out the interactive displays on out Pop Up Pinterest.

You can find pictures of this Pop Up on our Flicker.