The Heidelberg Project, Detroit
The Heidelberg Project (above and below) is one of my favorite things in Detroit. Artist Tyree Guyton has been turning his neighborhood into living sculpture since 1986. Mr. Guyton started the project as a way of taking back his neighborhood from the encroaching blight, violence and despair of 1980s Detroit. Mr. Guyton uses abandoned homes near his house as canvases, adding color and enlivening his otherwise bleak neighborhood in northeast Detroit. It's wonderful to come across these playfully decorated houses after driving through blocks and blocks of the grim city. Mr. Guyton has gotten children and other neighbors involved in the decorating of the houses making it a community rather than strictly personal project. The city did not support Mr. Guyton's neighborhood improvement project for the first 15 or more years of its existence. Detroit spent money demolishing at least 6 of the Heidelberg houses in the 1990s. That the city would prioritize demolishing these houses over the countless other abandoned buildings seems misguided, stupid or worse. Recently 6 of the Heidelberg houses have been destroyed by arsonists (2013-14). The pictures here were taken in 2010 during the Heidelberg Street block party which I ran into completely by chance.
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