Some call it graffiti, some call it art, but Detroit calls it the Heidelberg Project. Established in 1986, one local artist started an art revolution that would change the way people view all different objects and colors around them.
Tyree Guyton is that artist; he stated in a recent interview “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 (Guyton, 2012).”
His vision was to transform the two block area into a state-of-the-art cultural village. From houses painted in polka dots, numbers, and different times, to homes covered with stuffed animals, vinyl records, and old signs; 3600 Heidelberg Street on Detroit’s East side is a great place to visit.
For 26 years, local artists have been pouring all of their passion and determination into these two blocks to show the people of the Detroit community the beauty of art and creativity. It is not only a symbol of people’s lives; it is also a symbol of change and positive upbringing, taking a place that was once known for broken down houses and busted windows and making it into one of the most amazing community art projects ever.
The Heidelberg Project allows anyone who has a passion for art, or creating sculptures to express themselves for all to see, and show a side of Detroit that many people these days can overlook.
People from all over come to visit this community art project, and many are surprised by what they see when they get there. From children on a school trip, to an up-and-coming local artist, this place has something to offer each individual that visits.
One of the best parts about the Heidelberg Project is you can get involved very easily, from learning about the history of the place by taking a very informative tour, to being a member of this amazing community project, by adding on your own touch of art for all to see.
There are two great ways to learn more about the history, and what makes this place what it is today. First is the tour; you can choose between two options at very reasonable prices, a family tour (15 or less people) for $75, or the group rate (15-75 people) for $200, which is a great option for school trips.
While you walk through with a tour guide, you are provided with all kinds of information about when and how the project started, as well as individual explanations of each of the artistic wonders. Before you end the tour, there is time set aside for a question and answer session, incase anything you were wondering about was missed.
The second way to learn about the history and art within this two block area of Detroit’s East side is to get a lecture given by none other than the man who created the Heidelberg Project.
Lasting for two hours, you can hear firsthand accounts from Tyree Guyton himself while he describes his views and passions for creating this colorful art project for thousands to see. For more information about these events, or to schedule your own hands on experience, call (313) 974-6894 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Something that might interest local artists looking to get their name out there is a program called the “Emerging Artists Program,” which is sponsored by the Heidelberg Project, and Tyree Guyton. This Program allows an artist to be displayed in the HP Gallery located in downtown Detroit, and show off his talents to the public.
The goal of the Emerging Artists Program, (EAP) is to open the new doors for emerging artists that major institutions might overlook. If this can help even one person get their name out there, then it has done what it was made to do.
YAH or Young Adults of Heidelberg is another group that reaches out to artists from ages 18-35. Their goal is to “engage young adults interested in using art as a catalyst for change” (www.heidelberg.org, 2012).
Each year there are multiple activities that take place to help people get inspired by others and promote positive self-esteem throughout the Detroit and neighboring communities. Being partnered with many local colleges and community outreach centers; this program provides a great way for people to get involved in the community and create positive change, by displaying works of art and words wisdom to help inspire the minds of others.
Art, community and environmental education (“ACE2”) is a program designed for schools that helps teach students where there is a lack of art education and environmental and community value. The great part about this program is it includes a school presentation, workshop, and on location field trip to the Heidelberg project, as well as a visit from the artist who created it all, Tyree Guyton at his studio. This is a great way to get kids to learn about the importance of these topics and have them experience for themselves the value of art education, the environment, and community.
If you would like more information on the Heidelberg project, and the programs it has to offer, please visit the website at www.heidelberg.org.