‘Secrets of Suburbia’ exposed in downtown Wichita

Secrets are supposed to be kept, well, secret. However, a new art project at Shift Space is challenging this notion.

“She thinks we’re getting married, but we’re not.”

That’s one of the anonymous secrets of Secrets of Suburbia, a project by 15 Wichita artists exploring the culture and experience of Wichita.

“Secrets” co-creator Kylie Brown collected anonymous secrets from Wichita residents and made them simultaneously public and private by putting them on display without names. Other artists from around the city are contributing work to the project with variations on the theme.

“Working in suburban neighborhoods, people sometimes live a double life,” Brown said. “Not a terrible double life, but one where you put on a public face and hold all your secrets in. We all have secrets and people tend to think of secrets as a negative thing, but secrets can also hold your dreams and hopes.”

At Shift Space, Wichita State’s downtown art gallery, the walls are alive. In one artist’s project, a visitor’s shadow can create music by touching glowing spheres projected against the wall. In another, letting your shadow fall across a flame on the wall flashes a cryptic message. A screen flashes local residents’ secrets, but they can only be seen from a certain angle.

Brown created the project with Lisa Rundstrom. Brown is a videographer and founder of Creative Rush, a group dedicated to inspiring and connecting Wichita artists.

Rundstrom is an artist, yoga instructor, WSU art teacher and the director of Shift Space.

She said she’s overjoyed to make her passions into a career. “My career at Wichita State has been wonderful,” she said.

The main event for Secrets of Suburbia is at 6 p.m. on Friday. Two of the exhibit’s art projects will only be there on Friday. Organizers are expecting at least 500 people, but anyone who wants to see “Secrets” without a crowd can visit Shift Space from 1 to 4 p.m. any day between now and then.

Shift Space is at 416 S. Commerce, Suite 102, just south of the intersection of Commerce and Waterman. Admission is free.