Dirty Little Secrets opened in October of 2007, with artists confessing secrets and sharing struggles through painting,video, sculpture, photography, print, and collage. It wasn’t all scandal and sex—many artists shared deeply personal works about their struggles with depression and anxiety. The exhibit was as beautiful as it was cathartic.
As a fun component of the otherwise heavy exhibit, we created a confessional booth. In the shared gallery space of the Q.arma building there was a small alcove, about 13 feet deep by 10 feet wide. We’d often have mini-installations in this space, as it was the perfect size for independent work. For this show we created a curtain-wrapped confessional, leaving a typewriter behind a screen for people to tap-tap-tap out their secrets.
Like any good institution, we also sold indulgences to the audience. This spin on the historical indulgences sold by the church invited guests to be absolved of any transgression— for a modest fee, of course. While we sold quite a lot of red wine, we did not sell many indulgences. Perhaps our art-going crowd was more pious than we realized.
This post is adapted from It’s Never Going To Work: A Tale of Art and Nonprofits in the Minneapolis Community including illustrations by Athena Currier.. ©2018 Jamie Schumacher.
It’s Never Going To Work is a light-hearted, illustrated book that offers real-life insights on founding a community space and nonprofit. It provides tools, tips, resources, and camaraderie to community organizers and anybody attempting something new.