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 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 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 an invitation to whimsy. Each door is a piece of public art, to be viewed and enjoyed by Atlanta visitors and residents alike, and each reflects the neighborhood in which it resides.
For instance, the Krog Tunnel tiny door (pictured above) echoes the edge and grit that characterizes the tunnel itself, blending into the uneven facade of the wall and tagging itself with graffiti.
That juxtaposes neatly with the Inman Park door, with its bright turquoise paint and large, friendly pawprint on the sign. Details like a tiny bulletin board (compete with itsy bitsy fliers and announcements) and even a tiny dog peeking through a doggie flap 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.
You can interact with Tiny Doors ATL on their Instagram and Facebook pages to learn where new doors are installed. Take a picture of the ones you stumble upon and hashtag #tinydoorsatl and #discoveratl on social media to participate in the fun!
I first wrote this article for Atlanta.net!