By Annie Kinnett Nichols
I’m tiny, so it’s no surprise I’ve always been drawn to small things, but even I couldn’t fit through the tiny doors that are popping up around Intown.
If you happen to be looking for a children’s book in Decatur, visiting the park around the Carter Center, biking or walking along the BeltLine Eastide Trail, whizzing through the graffiti tunnel that connects the Old Fourth Ward and Cabbagetown, or buying a treat for your pet in Inman Park, then you might have stumbled upon a tiny door.
The exact location of the tiny doors is not revealed, and that’s part of the fun, according to artist Karen Anderson of Tiny Doors ATL. Karen has been making miniature pieces since she was 7, including all her own dollhouse furniture.
On a blustery March day, I met Karen and happily walked through Intown as she gave me a tour of the tiny doors. There are currently five and a ribbon cutting for the sixth is set for April 18. Because of its location, the opening will feature a teeny, tiny banquet of food.
Tiny doors have become popular around the world, including England where they are known as “fairy doors.” The painstaking detail of the doors, figures and objects around them are intriguing to both children and adults. Karen and her “partner in tiny,” Sarah Meng, have managed to create an imaginary world where everyone creates their own story about what’s going on behind the door. They’ve also created a huge buzz in just four months.
Tiny Doors ATL is a nonprofit organization that wants to make free public art. Their motto is: Big wonder. Tiny Spaces. They felt the doors were a unique way to take Atlanta’s active art community and bring a dash of adventure and whimsy to the city. Social media has played a big part in the fun of finding the doors, with photos and clues posted on Instagram (@tinydoorsatl) and Facebook (facebook.com/tinydoorsatl).
Taking me on an exclusive door tour, I got to see Rosie, their tiny mascot, hard at work scrubbing the entryway of the missing Door #5, which has been getting repairs from water damage at Rosie’s tiny workshop. By press time, the door will be back in place, nestled at the base of a great American Elm near the Carter Center. Oops, I might have said too much.
When you see the doors, there’s a level of perfection that makes it more than craft. It’s actually a mathematical equation which makes everything you see perfectly in proportion. Karen and Sarah started their exploration of where doors could take people in the famous graffiti tunnel. They installed the tiny door and waited and watched as people took notice. Soon, things started appearing at the door: a tiny letter, a tiny newspaper, tiny pumpkins and a tiny Christmas wreath. Since then, an invisible community of guardians has formed to help keep the tiny doors clean, repaired, and to leave little gifts.
Tiny Doors makes no profit, but they do accept donations for helping create the next door. A gallery show and fundraiser is being planned for August, which will feature local artists who want to exhibit their work. Half the money will go to the artists, and the other half to Tiny Doors ATL. If you want to get involved with the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll have more details in a forthcoming issue.
It’s really wonderful to experience something so tiny that has already made a huge impact on my life as well as Atlanta’s ever-growing art scene. Two tiny thumbs up for Tiny Doors.