Provo Woman Highlighting Art Through Tiny Exhibits

Mar 29, 2020, 10:42 PM | Updated: Mar 30, 2020, 8:42 am

PROVO, Utah — A Provo woman entered the art scene in a very small way, running tiny art shows that look like they belong in a dollhouse.

“I’ve always liked tiny things,” said McKay Lenker Bayer, a high school art teacher and the arts and events manager for Downtown Provo.

She said her love grew out of a childhood filled with fairies, where she and her mom would make fairy houses and read books about the mythical creatures.

One time, her mother left her a tiny note, supposedly from a fairy.

“And so tiny things have always been really magical,” she said.

So, when Bayer had a college class assignment to show her artwork in public, she went small. Tiny.

She installed a show of tiny canvases in public at fairy eye-level.

“People start to notice it,” she said. “But people were, like, laying down on the ground to look and they would, like, sprawl out and really get down and look. And I just was watching from a little bit away, and I thought that was so fun.”

That assignment eventually became a popular event on the local art scene and a social media destination, @tinyartshow on Instagram.

About once a month Bayer produces another show of tiny art by Utah artists, often in unique venues – a bus, a closet of the Springville Museum of Art, a dollhouse.

She offers tiny programs – so small that many would need magnifying glasses to read them – tiny treats like miniature donuts, ice cream cones and cookies, and tiny crafts.

Last February, just before Valentine’s Day, she staged “Breathings of the Heart” at The Wick Lab, a Provo candle store. People waited in line for a half-hour for the opportunity to get down on the ground and look at tiny pieces of ceramic art.

Listen to her patrons’ commentary and one word is spoken again and again – “cute.”

“I know that it’s cute and I like to lean into it being cute,” Bayer said, because it attracts an audience that won’t necessarily go to art galleries and art museums.

“It brings different types of people to actually look at art, which I think is really great,” she said. “It’s like a more intimate way of engaging with original art.”

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Provo Woman Highlighting Art Through Tiny Exhibits