Photo: The Heidelberg Project, Detroit
When exploring Detroit it’s hard not to be blown away (no pun intended) by the amount of devastation this city has endured. Every second house in almost every street is either abandoned or burned to the ground. Walking around alone isn’t much fun…A: because there’s usually not many people around to chat to, and B: because even if there is, you’re steady on the defence imagining the worst. I can however say that when visiting Detroit, the people I had the courage to conversate with, were some of the most generous and giving people I’ve ever encountered. It’s difficult to put in words the feeling one gets when walking through The Heidelberg Project in Detroit. I can say however that the fear of walking the street alone isn’t so daunting when it’s alongside a multicoloured polka dot house under a tree adorned with fluffy toys and clocks.
The Heidelberg Project is a street in Detroit, Michigan that is dedicated to instigating change in the community through art. A labour of love, which began 26 years ago by the hands of Tyree Guyton has now become one of the city’s biggest tourist draw cards. Guyton, a practising artist and Detroit resident, has lost 3 brothers to the street and is determined to bring the city back to what it used to be. He states, “When you come to the Heidelberg Project, I want you to think-really think! My art is a medicine for the community. You can’t heal the land until you heal the minds of the people.”
The Heidelberg Project is one of those places that you really need to see to be able to fully appreciate. I believe that Guyton’s vision of a stronger and more stable Detroit will eventually be realised and that the Heidelberg Project is playing a vital role in this turn around. Go there.
Photos & text: Lily