More than a dozen tiny doors are scattered across the storefronts and public buildings of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Created by lifelong resident and illustrator Jonathan b. Wright, the doors are frequently visited by children, adults, and surprised shoppers. Wright first built the fairy-sized doors for his daughters as he renovated his home. Beginning in 2005, he expanded the fairy doors to the family’s favorite local businesses. Today, these “urban fairies” have carved out space in much of Ann Arbor’s downtown. There’s a fairy door in the Google offices, another at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and an intricate shelf of books in the children’s section of the Ann Arbor District Library. As Wright explains on his website, he continues to discover new doors and repair damages to existing ones.
In April 2011, a friend and I spent an afternoon searching for the doors around Main Street. I started at the Ark, a live music venue on Main Street. The fairies even have a ticket window.
The fairy door at Peaceable Kingdom is part of a miniature store. It closes at the same time as the human-sized store.
Down on Ashley Street, Red Shoes has its own door as well. Many children leave gifts for the fairies on the stoop.
The fairy door at Lexi’s Toy Box matches the store’s entrance.
The first fairy door appeared at Sweetwater’s Café just off of Main Street.
While some stores have closed and their fairy doors have disappeared, new ones are still appearing around Ann Arbor. They fascinate children and allow adults to take a moment to believe in magic.