Usually, looking up while walking around Boston is the way to go.
But if you find your eyes turned to the ground in the coming days and weeks, be sure to keep an eye out for a handful of delightful mice-sized storefronts that have popped up around the city.
The miniature stores have appeared in the Boston area recently thanks to a collective of street artists known as AnonyMouse.
“We started back in 2016 in southern Sweden, a couple of us met up and started discussing just creating something together and the dialogue shifted towards our childhood love of the works of Walt Disney, Don Bluth, Beatrix Potter and Swedish author Astrid Lindgren,” the collective told Boston.com in an email. “After a while we kind of centered around these small shops, since it was something we, ourselves, would have loved to stumble over as kids.”
The group has installed more than 40 shops worldwide (mostly in Sweden, France, and the Isle of Man). But now, there are 10 to 15 in the Boston area, “depending on how you count.”
As the name suggests, the collective remains anonymous in an effort to preserve an element of magic surrounding the tiny establishments.
“We like the idea that the installations speak for themselves, and also we’re quite fond of that children actually could believe that it was made by mice rather than humans,” the collective wrote. “Also, we kinda like the name, and if we went public we’d have to change it.”
When they got their start, each store took about six months from start to finish, they said. But the group has since sped up the process to take only about a month. The actual installation now takes only a few minutes, though AnonyMouse said they tend to install the pieces overnight so as not to be spotted.
A close look at the installations — if you are lucky enough to stumble upon one in real life or just on Instagram — reveals the displays use some everyday human materials.
“We’re always on the lookout for human objects that we can use for other things than a human would – a matchbox becomes a table, a cork a chair, a bottle cap becomes a chimney or a bottle becomes a fire truck. So we never really stop ‘working,’” they said.
Creating the storefronts over the years, the artists have gotten better at making them as durable as they can be, in order to withstand the elements and kids coming to play with them.
The collective creates everything from mouse-themed arcades to record stores to barbershops. And the shops aren’t empty; the artists also create the inside of the stores.
AnonyMouse has so far revealed two Boston installations on Instagram — a bookstore and a fire station — but there are a handful more still out there, according to the group.
“Good morning America. So, we’ve made it across the pond, and where else to lay anchor than in the promised land of Moussachusetts,” the collective wrote on Instagram. “Where exactly? Well thats for us to know and you to find out! Let the games begin!”
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