J’a-Door: Participatory Gallery

This activity is adapted from a design-at-home project submitted by Chicago designer Summer Coleman.

Beginning on March 21, 2020, Chicagoans began to shelter in place. Being behind windows and walls is a new experience for many and forced us all to find new ways to maintain relationships, find joy, and stay healthy. Emerging from the pandemic into a new way of life, each of us will be opening a door, physically and emotionally, and reengaging with our communities. 

Doors can keep us separate, but also bring us together in their universality. We each use doors every day, whether they be in our home, car, bus, work, or school. What doors do you see every day? How do you use them? What do they represent? What could they represent? 


  • Look closely the doors you use or see often, either in your living space or in your neighborhood. 
  • Create an image of a door in your life. Take a photograph, draw a picture, make a painting – whatever medium you prefer! 
  • Optional: Create a 2–3 sentence artist’s statement. Why did you select this particular door? Does it have meaning for you? Do you just think it’s interesting? Why did you make a picture/drawing/painting/etc?
  • Share your door with us! Either send images to info@designchicago.org or tag us on social media. We’ll collect your doors and then once a week, update the gallery below.

Header images from Smithsonian Open Access. From left to right: Door and Over Door, Blue (South) Drawing Room by Frederick Crace (Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum), Photographic print of a woman on a porch by William O. Turner (National Museum of African American History and Culture), Cabin Door Still Life Richard La Barre Goodwin (Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery), and Hall with Doors (set design for Alice-in-Wonderland, 1915) by William Penhallow Henderson (Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery).