Wandering Through Art at the Heidelberg Project in Detroit, Michigan
Tyree Guyton grew tired of seeing the burned-out, abandoned buildings and discarded junk surrounding his house on Heidelberg Street, so he decided to do something about it. He recruited neighborhood kids and local artists and turned the empty lots and crumbling houses into an open-air art gallery. A colorful expression of the blight and issues faced by residents, it resembles a twisted sort of Wonderland. Buildings are covered in polka-dots. Stuffed animals adorn telephone poles. Brightly-painted doors, shopping carts, shoes, telephones, old signs, tires, scrap metal, and rusted appliances form a surreal landscape of discarded relics from people’s lives. While the city left the other rotted buildings on the street standing, it destroyed the Heidelberg Project twice. Each time it was rebuilt, and even expanded, by a community determined to turn their problems into something beautiful.