The Heidelberg Project is a 30 year, two-block art creation that was started in 1986 by Tyree Guyton. It contains elements of recycled materials and found objects, most of which were salvaged from the streets of Detroit. Each work of art is carefully decided to tell a story about current issues plaguing society. It was developed in part as a political protest, as Tyree Guyton’s childhood neighborhood began to deteriorate after the 1967 riots. This constantly evolving work transformed a neighborhood where people were afraid to walk, into a place with many visitors, bustling in over 270,000 visitors a year.
Their Mission: The Heidelberg Project (“HP”) is a Detroit-based community organization designed to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art. Our mission is to inspire people to appreciate and use artistic expression to enrich their lives and to improve the social and economic health of their greater community.
Their Vision: The theory of change for the Heidelberg Project begins with the belief that all citizens, from all cultures, have the right to grow and flourish in their communities. The HP believes that a community can redevelop and sustain itself, from the inside out, by embracing its diverse cultures and artistic attributes as the essential building blocks for a fulfilling and economically viable way of life.
The city has bulldozed portions of the the Heidelberg project twice and there have been quite a few incidents of arson, in an effort to destroy the project, with over 12 cases between 2013 and 2014 alone. Due to the revitalization of Midtown over the last few years, they have been slowly squeezing out Detroiters who have lived here for years and there have been quite a few rumors on Tyree’s plans to dismantle or move the Heidelberg Project out of Midtown.
If you would like to learn more about the Heidelberg Project or are interested in donating visit their website.