Until my recent (well, not so recent anymore – it was almost a month ago!) Detroit Day that I’ve been chronicling, I’m pretty sure I was the only person my ripe old age of 30 who had lived her whole life in the proximity of Detroit and had not been through the Heidelburg Project. Out on the other side of the experience, I can heartily attest that it was everything I thought it would be and more!
For those unfamiliar with it, the Heidelburg Project is an urban art installation – referred to as an “outdoor community art environment” on its website – on Heidelburg Street in Detroit. Starting in 1986 (I had no idea it went back that far until researching it!), local artist Tyree Guyton started to transform this heavily blighted area of his community through the raw, beautifying power of art, using his trademark colorful polka dots and found and recycled objects primarily from the Detroit area and recruiting the help of family members and neighborhood kids. And look at how f@cking amazing it is! I just love contemporary art and art using found objects; I get really excited about it, so I was pretty impassioned when my friend was driving me through the Heidelburg Project, ohh-ing and ahh-ing and getting really upset recalling how some of it has been destroyed by ignorant idiots – but then excited to see that they have worked on rebuilding it. A colorful kaleidoscope of emotions – that’s what the best art brings out in us.
Today, the Heidelburg Project is more than an inspiring and thought-provoking urban art installation – it’s a movement that includes youth art workshops and gallery exhibitions by other artists. If you’re as passionate about such creative, community-focused work as I am, you can also support the cause through a donation via the below website.
3600 Heidelberg St.
Detroit MI, 48207