What Is Keeping the Heidelberg Project Alive?

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  • Topic: Detroit, Wayne State University, Heidelberg Project
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  • Published : October 22, 2008
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What Is Keeping The Heidelberg Project Alive?

The Heidelberg Project’s Rough Start and New Beginning
The answer to that question is very simple. Creator, Tyree Guyton and executive director, Jenenne Whitfield are always looking for new ideas and plans to keep the project going. Tyree began this project in 1986 to create an outdoor art environment in the heart of Detroit, Michigan. (“Heidelberg Project”) In February 1999, the city of Detroit started to demolish the Heidelberg project not less than an hour after its’ temporary restraining order had expired. (Fig. 2) Some of the project is still there today, but residents of neighboring streets, in spite of everything, believe it is an eyesore. In 2001, 15 years after the Heidelberg Project started, Tyree was asked to start another project in Birmingham, Michigan. This helped Heidelberg live on in a new location (“Heidelberg Project, Detroit).

The Visual
Heidelberg Street is part of the east side of Detroit (a.k.a. poor inner city downtown). When one starts to walk down this street, they will see an array of bright colours. To a person who has no sense of art, Heidelberg Street may look as if someone painted a bunch of garbage and dispersed it along this intriguing piece of land. Polka dots and numbers are placed all over the abandoned buildings (Fig. 3) and toys are hanging off the near by trees. Many people around the world come to Detroit to see this controversial work of art (“Heidelberg Project, Detroit).

What Is On Tap For The Heidelberg Project
Later this year, Tyree will bring the Heidelberg Project to Wayne State (Fig. 4). “The sculpture, an array of colorful doors, is to be made of steel and was commissioned to honor the project’s 20 years of prevalence despite destuction and an ever-present commitment to social change.” Tyree plans to place these doors in front of the Elaine L. Jacobs gallery next to Old Main. The sculpture revolves around doors because of many different reasons. Some of...