All around the city of Atlanta you can find seven-inch-high doors, cemented to walls near cultural landmarks and locals’ favorite hangouts. This is the work of Karen Lynn Anderson, an artist dedicated to public art in the city.
“[When I moved to Atlanta] I fell in love with Atlanta’s unique murals, sculptures, and free art that you’d find on the street in neighborhoods,” Anderson says in a talk at TEDxEmory.
“For a year I watched [Atlanta street artists], and I thought, ‘How can I contribute to this conversation? I want to make something free and I want to make something public and I want to make something that contributes to Atlanta.’”
Her answer? Tiny doors.
Anderson installed the first door of her project nearly two years ago — in a hot spot for Atlanta street art, the Krog Street Tunnel (below). “The cement dried … and then I waited,” she says.
She was afraid that no one would notice the door, or worse, that it would get destroyed or painted over. But soon things started appearing in front of the door, she says, contributions from other artists.
First, there was a mini to-go box of biscuits from a local restaurant, Anderson says, then jack-o’-lanterns, a tiny newspaper and a herd of tiny cats waiting to go inside.
More doors followed, each customized to fit a specific part of the city — a door with a bookcase by a local book shop; a door with a mini doggy door by a beloved pet shop; even a door in a tree, a collaboration with Trees Atlanta for Arbor Day.
“The idea behind Tiny Doors was always to encourage imagination,” Anderson says. “Our mission was to bring big wonder to tiny spaces.”
Watch Anderson’s entire talk below: