Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor

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Fairies have invaded the city of Ann Arbor, that’s what long-time resident Jonathan B. Wright, a graphic designer, wants you to believe. He will then point out to tiny doors scattered all around the city as evidence. There is a door hidden inside a coffee shop, one beside a grocer's steps, and another beneath a toy store window. There is at least a dozen. Of course, they were installed by Mr. Wright himself.

It all started in 1993 when Jonathan Wright was renovating their 100-year-old family home, and on a whim, decided to install a tiny door in the house to entertain his kids. The door opened into a tiny room with an equally tiny staircase and railing leading up to a second door. The children's delighted response prompted him to build more.

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A fairy door at Selo Shevel Gallery in Ann Arbor. Photo credit: bagaball/Flickr

In 2005, he installed the first fairy door in public, on the exterior of a coffee shop. Since then, about a dozen more doors have shown up around Ann Arbor delighting local children and adults alike. Sometimes fairy hunters would leave fairy-sized gifts for the fairies —candies, socks, tiny felt hats, letters, pennies. The doors also attract tourists.

Now fairy doors are popping up elsewhere, such as in San Francisco and New York City. In Atlanta City, it has spawned a new project, Tiny Doors ATL. It’s director and principal artist Karen Anderson, who’s from Ann Arbor herself, says that the project is a direct inspiration of Ann Arbor’s fairy doors. Tiny Doors ATL, in turn, has inspired other artists to install fairy doors in their own places.

Jonathan B. Wright keeps track of all fairy doors on Ann Arbor on his website, and so does Tiny Doors ATL on theirs.

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Fairy door at Peaceable Kingdom, 210 South Main Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Photo credit: Dwight Burdette/Wikimedia

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Close-up of fairy door at Selo Shevel Gallery, Ann Arbor. Photo credit: Dwight Burdette/Wikimedia

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Photo credit: Mark Stephenson/Flickr

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Photo credit: The Ann Arbor News

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Photo credit: The Ann Arbor News

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Photo credit: The Ann Arbor News

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A Tiny Door in Old Fourth Ward Skatepark on the BeltLine, Atlanta. Photo credit: Tiny Doors ATL

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A Tiny Door in Atlanta. Photo credit: Eddie Krebs/Flickr

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Photo credit: Tiny Doors ATL

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