The Heidelberg Project in Detroit
November 28, 2007
I have been planning to write something about The Heidelberg Project in Detroit for quite a while now. This morning, I read an unsettling report about fires at the project from Derek that tipped my hand.
At heidelberg.org you can learn all about this amazing project:
The Heidelberg Project, bearing the name of the street on which it exists, was started in 1986 by Tyree Guyton. He was assisted by his grandfather, Sam (Grandpa) Mackey (deceased), and his former wife, Karen Guyton. Tyree was raised on Heidelberg Street and, at the age of 12, witnessed the tragic effect of the Detroit riots – from which he claims the City of Detroit never recovered. Though once racially integrated, many neighborhoods have become segregated urban ghettos characterized by poverty, abandonment, and despair
Armed with a paintbrush, a broom, and neighborhood children, Guyton, Karen, and Grandpa began by cleaning up vacant lots on Heidelberg and Elba Streets. From the refuse they collected, Guyton began to transform the street into a massive art environment. Vacant lots literally became “lots of art” and abandoned houses became “gigantic art sculptures.” Guyton not only transformed vacant houses and lots, he integrated the street, sidewalks, and trees into his mammoth installation and called his work on Heidelberg Street, the Heidelberg Project.
I don’t think there’s any way that you can get a sense of this from one photo. Fortunately Derek has more photos from the Project (slideshow) and you can see a whole lot more photos of the Heidelberg Project on Flickr including those in the Heidelberg Project pool.
Be sure to also check out the video of Tyree Guyton explaining the Heidelberg Project and the new book from Wayne State University Press, Connecting the Dots: Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project.