Whether you were strolling down the Beltline, biking through the Krog Tunnel, or standing in front of the dazzling lights at the Fox Theatre, it’s hard to forget the magic that you felt when you spotted your first Tiny Door.
The doors are the work of artist Karen Anderson Singer, who started the project in her own neighborhood of Reynoldstown in 2014. Singer, a street artist and sculptor who holds a degree in visual art from Rutgers University, wanted to create a project which would respect and reflect what makes Atlanta unique.
What started with a single door and a mission statement to “bring big wonder to tiny spaces” has grown into a movement. Tiny Doors ATL’s Instagram account now boasts over 100,000 followers and has inspired projects all over the world.
Singer’s project has been featured by media outlets like O Magazine, NPR, and CBS Sunday Morning. So what’s the story you haven’t already heard? Here are a few little-known facts about Tiny Doors ATL.
5 Hidden Facts Behind Atlanta’s Tiny Doors
1. Tiny Doors Don’t Go Just Anywhere
Inquiries for new doors are at an all-time high, but Singer holds tight to a few cardinal rules when deciding where a door will go.
First, the location has to be requested. Singer shares, “The doors are much better received when the neighborhood has asked for them. It’s an honor to create a piece for a neighborhood and it’s important they see themselves in it.”
Second, every one of the 16 numbered doors is free to visit, public, and wheelchair accessible. That means Singer won’t send you to a location that isn’t a true Atlanta landmark, though she may take you off the beaten path.
2. Atlanta Royalty Has Joined In
Singer has partnered with iconic Atlanta artists such as R. Land (Pray for ATL, loss cat), Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls, CatLanta, and the Lotus Eaters Club. She has also incorporated her artworks into murals by Molly Rose Freeman, HENSE, Lela Brunet, and others.
Last Summer, Rep. Natalyn Archibong even presented Tiny Doors ATL with Atlanta’s first Tiny Key to the City.
The most intriguing collaborations in Singer’s eyes are the ones that happen with members of the community. Children make paths leading up to the doors. Visitors leave free art or figurines that interact with the scene. Singer enjoys making changes to the doors from time to time, adding plants or updating the facade to keep the conversation with the city going—an exchange of love letters between Tiny Doors ATL and Atlanta.
3. Tiny Doors Are Just The Beginning
Working with individual companies to create inspiring miniatures is the bulk of Singer’s business.
“One of the most exciting parts of my job is working with clients, getting to know what’s important to them, and making art that engages the imaginations of their employees and their audience,” Singer says.
Sometimes it’s a tiny pair of shoes, 100 miniature paintings, or even a door so big it makes YOU look tiny. On the wall of Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s apparel store, you can find a replica of the iconic front entrance. Shoppers can snap a photo with the miniature facade and share it with friends through social media. Through sharing with friends, these tiny doors become a site of interaction.
Learn more about Singer’s commissions here.
4. Every Tiny Door is a Commitment
In the back of Singer’s SUV is a mobile fix-it kit that she can take to every door to perform touch-ups. Doors are often stolen, vandalized, and damaged by extreme weather. Singer takes the maintenance of the doors seriously.
“I see at least one door every day,” she says. “People depend on them to be there. It is an honor and a responsibility to the community to keep up their curb appeal.” Fans from around the world contribute funds for paint and other supplies to maintain the doors on a special membership page.
The interactive Google Map featuring all of the doors has over 250,000 views and attracts visitors from Atlanta and beyond. There’s even a public bike tour that can be booked any weekend to see the doors!
5. It’s About Community
Over the years, Tiny Doors ATL has hosted ribbon-cutting ceremonies, tiny workshops, and parties that have brought thousands of “Tiny Friends” together. Most of the attendees have never met before these celebrations, but come together over their shared experience of finding a tiny door. Tiny Doors ATL has become part of the Atlanta experience—part of our community.
“Even tiny art can have a big impact,” Singer states emphatically.
And that’s the real story behind the Tiny Doors: embracing Atlanta, sparking imagination, and building community through art.