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The Heidelberg Project

The Heidelberg Project... It was the first thing I visited when I entered Detroit at around 5 AM in the morning, as I thought it would be really cool to shoot these weird installations at night

The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor art project in Detroit, Michigan. It was created in 1986 by artist Tyree Guyton and his grandfather Sam Mackey ("Grandpa Sam") as an outdoor art environment in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood on the city's east side, just north of the city's historically African-American Black Bottom area.

The Heidelberg Project is in part a political protest, as Tyree Guyton's childhood neighborhood began to deteriorate after the 1967 riots. Guyton described coming back to Heidelberg Street after serving in the Army; he was astonished to see that the surrounding neighborhood looked as if "a bomb went off

At first, the project consisted of his painting a series of houses on Detroit's Heidelberg Street with bright dots of many colors and attaching salvaged items to the houses.

It was a constantly evolving work that transformed a hard-core inner city neighborhood where people were afraid to walk, even in daytime, into one in which neighbors took pride and where visitors were many and welcomed.

Tyree Guyton worked on the Heidelberg Project daily with the children on the block. He and director Jenenne Whitfield gave lectures and workshops on the project around the country. Their main goal was to develop the Heidelberg Project into the city's first indoor and outdoor museum, complete with an artists' colony, creative art center, community garden, amphitheater, and more.

In 2005 the Heidelberg Project was awarded the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence silver medal

On two occasions, the Heidelberg Project faced complete destruction by the City of Detroit on the basis of the barriers to urban planning it represented.

In November 1991, under Mayor Coleman Young, the Heidelberg Project's "The Baby Doll House," "Fun House" and "Truck Stop" were completely demolished.

Under Mayor Dennis Archer, a second demolition of the Heidelberg Project was ordered on February 4, 1999 that ended in the destruction of the houses Guyton termed "Your World", "Happy Feet" and "The Canfield House".

The Heidelberg Project is recognized around the world as a demonstration of the power of creativity in creating hope and a bright vision for the future. Some of the houses that remain on Heidelberg Street include the "New White House (formerly Dotty Wotty)", "Number House" along with the Detroit Industrial Gallery, and artist studio/home that was purchased and maintained by Detroit artist Tim Burke.

The Heidelberg Project hopes to offer a new approach to the growing problems of urban sprawl and decay facing many American and other international "Shrinking cities". This approach has garnered international attention, especially since the Heidelberg Project continues its maturation.

The 20th Anniversary of the Heidelberg Project was celebrated on August 26, 2006, with a community festival, an event that ended a year of special attention.

MTV producers filmed a segment for its show Made using the Heidelberg Project as a backdrop. Fashion model Kate Moss visited the Heidelberg Project with photographer Bruce Webber to photograph the City of Detroit for a special edition of W magazine in June 2006.

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.

Power to the People!

Whenever you are in Detroit, I strongly encourage you visiting this cool place.

More info at http://www.heidelberg.org