If ever there was a moment in which you feel like you’ve plopped into the storyline of “Alice in Wonderland”, it is likely to be when you first happen to pass by a tiny little door in Atlanta.
It could happen anywhere, at any time. You could be jogging the Eastside Trail on the Atlanta BeltLine
, or heading to dinner in Decatur Square
, or walking through the Krog Street Tunnel
… and suddenly you see it, nestled in the side of a wall. You might do a double-take, to make sure what you’ve seen is actually a tiny door; you might take a few steps closer and crouch down a bit, a small twinkle beginning to glow in your eye as you take in the personality of the door, its rather impressive level of detail. You may even wonder who lives inside it... or what might happen if you were to knock.
And then you’d shake your head and realize that, though there are little people in Atlanta, surely there aren’t people that small! For indeed, we’re talking about tiny doors, doors that are mere inches tall. These teeny little doors either house fairies a la Tinkerbell and Thumbelina… or they are a unique art installation, taking over Atlanta one door at a time.
Turns out, it’s the latter, run by a local artists cooperative called Tiny Doors ATL
. Its Co-Directors, Karen Anderson and Sarah Meng, work with volunteers to bring a beloved tradition from Ann Arbor, Michigan, called “Fairy Doors” to Atlanta, GA. They describe what they do, which is creating and installing doors in different locations all over the city, as bringing big wonder to tiny spaces. Each door is a piece of public art, meant to inspire curiosity and exploration in people of all ages, to be viewed and enjoyed by Atlanta visitors and residents alike. Each door serves as a representation of the neighborhood in which it now resides.
For instance, the Krog Tunnel tiny door echoes the much-loved edge and grit that characterizes the tunnel itself, blending seamlessly into the uneven facade of the wall and tagging itself with graffiti street art. That juxtaposes neatly with the Inman Park door, with its bright turquoise paint and large, friendly pawprint on the sign. Details like a bulletin board (compete with itsy bitsy fliers and announcements) and even a tiny dog heading in through a doggie flap can give the doors personality and life. It gives the impression that the artists carefully considered who the resident of their tiny door might be and what might be going on in their tiny life.
An invitation to whimsy, indeed! Each door has carved out a place for itself in that neighborhood, just like all Atlanta residents do. Several more doors will be installed in 2015, and will eventually be part of a walkable route that you’ll be able to access from the Tiny Doors ATL website. Check in with their Instagram and Facebook pages to learn where new doors are spotted. (You'll also spy glimpses of their mascot: a tiny, woodworking Rosie the Riveter!) And when, out and about in Atlanta, you happen to stumble upon a tiny door, be sure to take a picture and hashtag #tinydoorsatl and #discoveratl on social media to be part of the fun!
Beth Clark is a writer, dancer and humorist who dearly loves Atlanta. Curiosity is her compass as she roams around the city on a mission to discover Atlanta's quirky, glam, upscale and down-home character. Check out her blog, TheCityDweller.me or Twitter @bethcitydweller.