Project invites Leeds to share its secrets

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Have you got a secret? And are you willing to share it?

An innovative Leeds organisation is inviting you to do just that in its “Tell me a secret” community art project.

In a bid to change attitudes while creating a piece of art, people are being urged to put pen to paper and set their secrets free.

Mike Matthews, founder of Meetings In Chapel Allerton (MICA) – which organises inspirational projects and talks – came up with the idea.

The life coach and commercial manager for the NHS said: “When I announced it at the last meeting there was an audible intake of breath.”

But he emphasised that the secrets weren’t expected to be deep and dark. He said: “It might be something like ‘I’m really scared of public speaking’ or ‘I don’t really understand my job’.”

He added: “They say a problem shared is a problem halved so if the reverse is true then we are doubling our stresses every day. How different would life be if we let go of these secrets?”

The 38-year-old hopes that by confessing their hidden anxieties, participants will realise they weren’t such a big deal after all.

MICA’s first community art project, which asked people to finish the sentence “Before I die I want to.....” was a huge success. It encouraged passers-by to share their dreams in a public space.

Around 1,000 took part, scrawling on a giant chalkboard outside Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton, with responses ranging from “lurn to spel” to “kiss a badger,” “drive a VW camper van round Europe,” “make the world peaceful” and “learn to love”.

Mike said: “It was filled within days. We had to change the canvas about eight times.

“It was only supposed to be live for four weeks and ended up being up four months.”

To take part in this summer’s project, drop in to Seven Arts from Sunday, pick up a “tell me a secret” card and fill it in.

Braver participants can peg their secrets to a special washing line or pin them to the noticeboard, while those feeling shy can post them in a box for organisers to put on display later.


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