Heidelberg ProjectTuesday, October 11, 2016
It's been well established I like weird public art, right? For years, and years I've been seeing photos of the Heidelberg Project in Detroit, Michigan. Even before I knew what this strange art project was called I had a major crush on that darn polka dotted house. (Don't worry, you'll know exactly which one I'm talking about when you see the photos!) For some reason I had it in my head that Detroit was really far away so I never made the trip up there. Last weekend Jeff mentioned something about taking a trip up to Detroit for the day. I was a little concerned with timing, especially when he insisted I wouldn't have to take Klaus to my parents. To my surprise Detroit really is close, an easy breezy 2.5 hour trip. (Jeff says "Of course it was an easy drive, you slept the whole way!")
The Heidelberg Project was started by Tyree Guyton in 1986. HP describes itself as "an outdoor community art environment." Everything there is made from recycled materials or found objects, most of which salvaged from the streets of Detroit. Each work is made to tell a story about current issues plaguing society.
Found object art is my absolute favorite, no ifs, ands, or butts about it. The Heidelberg Project was perfect. I loved every second of being there. I could have easily spent a few more hours soaking in every details. I had seen tons and tons of photos prior to my visit but nothing really can prepare you for what it's like to experience in person. There is so much to see. Plus there were a bunch of cats + black squirrels. BONUS!
Twice in the past the HP has dealt with partial demotion and then in more recent times has been the subject of arson. Over the 30 last years, Tyree Guyton has created twenty house installations but only two remain. Needless to say, I'm kicking myself for not getting up there before nine of the buildings burnt down in 2013 and 2014.
It was recently announced that over the next two years the HP will be dismantled. The project's spokesperson said "there will always be a footprint of the project, just not as people have known over the years." I'm very curious to see what happens over the next few years. Apparently even the creator of the project isn't quite sure what will take place exactly. From here on out I'd like to make annual trips up to visit, and photograph the HP, in whatever form it takes on.
Despite the abundance of photos I took, I still don't think I managed to capture all that is the Heidelberg Project. It's quite the site! If you'd like to read more about the Heidelberg Project you can do so on their official website. You can donate, volunteer, and even check out photos from past. I definitely recommend making a trip there before any further dismantling occurs!
PS. If you're into this sort of stuff but on the west side of the US - be sure to check out Noah's Art.