Heidelberg Project 3.0

Heidelberg Project 3.0

Detroit's iconic east-side art installation to be dismantled and transformed.
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“I strive to be a part of the solution. I see and understand how order is needed in the world and in our individual lives. My experiences have granted me knowledge of how to create art and how to see beauty in everything that exists." -- Tyree Guyton

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Tyree Guyton, the artist who created Detroit’s world-famous Heidelberg Project, has revealed in an interview that he plans on dismantling the project over the next two years, with the goal of transforming it into a larger-scale arts-infused community project.

Heidelberg 3.0, or so it will be called, will be a positive change for the community, according to Guyton. “After 30 years, I’ve decided to take it apart piece-by-piece in a very methodical way, creating new realities as it comes apart.”

Guyton and his grandfather, Sam Mackey, started the Heidelberg Project in 1986. After serving in the army, Guyton came back to his home in Detroit and was astonished to see that urban decline his neighborhood had faced, saying that it looked like “a bomb went off.” The project is in part a political protest in response to the deterioration that began after the 1967 riots, during which the area suffered a great population loss and business losses. Areas that had once thrived with Black-owned businesses were being abandoned.

This is where the Heidelberg Project started. Guyton and Mackey took the depilated structures and began revitalizing them with bright colors and patterns in an effort for creative exploration and artistic rebirth. The neighborhood entirely transformed. Empty houses became bright with painted polka dots and patterns; scenes were set with additions of artifacts such as toys, clocks, TV sets, signs, shoes, and anything else that could be found.

The idea was to bring people together, to create a community filled with art and life. For many, this is exactly what it was, bringing beauty and spunk to the then-bleak Detroit.

Not everyone has felt that way, however, and the project has been met with a plethora of criticism over the years.

Then-Mayor Coleman A. Young was one of these criticizers, and consistently proclaimed that the houses weren’t art and pushed plans to take it down under the claim that it interfered with urban planning initiatives. Under his term, three houses on the street were completely demolished, including “The Baby Doll House,” “Fun House,” and “Truck Stop.” In 1999, under Mayor Dennis Archer, three more houses were destroyed, including “Your World,” “Happy Feet,” and “The Canfield House.”

In addition to this, the project has survived countless attempts to seize properties by the city and 12 fires, all deemed suspicious but with no arrests to date.

All of these setbacks, however, caught national attention. Magazines took notice and wrote articles calling the work fresh and vital, and galleries have invited Guyton to showcase his work. The fires and attacks on all the works even garnered an online effort to raise funds for extra security at the site – raising $50,000 by the end of it. The nonprofit even challenged the city’s efforts to dismantle the sites and won an appeal for eight of the effected properties.

Now, though, after 30 years in international attention, the project will be taken down and reinvented. Says Guyton, “I gotta go in a new direction. I gotta do something I’ve not done before.”

Dan Lijana, spokesperson for Heidelberg, says that there will “always be a footprint of the project, just not as people have known over the years.” The commitment of the community to the project has always been profound, with volunteers coming in to take care of the sites, offering their talents to spruce up the area, coming and adding materials to the sites, protecting it, and inviting visitors from around the world to come and partake in the Heidelberg experience.

“I’m on an elevator, and I’ve taken it from the ground floor up to the very top 30 years later. Now I’m reversing that process, and I’m going to take this elevator down.” Guyton continued, “I’m gonna stop on every floor to look around and see the beauty of taking it apart, and do it in a methodical way, where it becomes a new form of art.”

Dismantling the project is only just the beginning, and is a beginning in and of itself. Over the next two years, the objects placed on the streets of Heidelberg will be gone; some are expected to be donated to museums across the country to memorialize the project, while others will be sold to raise funds for future efforts.

The four houses that have survived the decades will remain. The “Dotty Wotty House” is expected to become a small-scale museum to celebrate the effects Heidelberg had on its surrounding community and the art world.

There will also be a fundraising campaign, led by Jenenne Whitfield, the executive director of the project (and Guyton’s wife), to secure the future of the project and begin its metamorphosis, as well as provide a retirement fund for Guyton.

"It was time to put the clocks out here in such a way that I could see them every day, and you become what you see, what you talk about, what you do," Guyton said. "And a chance to share with the world that I'm exploring and playing with time. If I die tomorrow, I've fulfilled my purpose."

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For more information about the project, its transformation, and how you can be part of it, check out their website at: www.heidelberg.org

Cover Image Credit: kristinsmusings.wordpress.com

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11 Things You Understand If You Hate Physical Contact

Please keep your hands and feet away from me at all times.
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We currently live in a world where EVERYONE LIKES TO TOUCH EACH OTHER. People enjoy hugs, high fives, tapping others on the shoulder, pokes, ect. For someone like you and me (I'm assuming you too since you clicked on this article), this is the WORST thing in the world. Whenever I think of someone touching me (even just a poke) without my permission my reaction is like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family.

I mean, when I take that love languages quiz, physical touch is always on the bottom of my preferences. So I thought to my self, you know I can't be the only person in the world that hates physical touching. So here are 11 things every person who hates physical touch will understand:


1. When people tickle you

I don't care that it's just for fun and jokes; I'm not laughing because I want to, you are literally forcing me to laugh. I hate you, get your greasy hands off of me before I make you get them off of me.


2. When people think they need to tap your shoulder to get your attention

As if simply saying "Hey" followed by my name wasn't enough. I don't need your grubby little fingers touching me. Now I'm annoyed with you before this conversation even started, what do you want?


3. When someone you barely know reaches in for a hug

I don't know who the heck you're thinking you're about to hug because it sure isn't going to be me. Hugs are reserved for people I know well and like, not you. Okay release me now, I am not enjoying this. LET ME GO.


4. When people tell you that you aren't an affectionate person

Are you aware there are ways to show my affection without constantly being all over you like a koala bear? Yes, I'm affectionate, hop off.


5. When someone is in your personal space

We could be best friends, we could be complete strangers. We could be lovers, I could hate your guts. We could be in private, we could be in public. I don't care what the situation is, if you're in my personal space uninvited GET OUT. There is no reason to be so close to me unwarranted.


6. You don't know how to comfort people

When you see an upset loved one, most people think they you should comfort then by pulling them into a long lasting hug. But, that's the kind of things that your nightmares are literally made out of. So, you stand there confused how you should comfort your friend/relative while also not sacrificing your touch moral code.


7. When people say you "look like you could use a hug"

Um no. I never could use one, get off of me. I will let you know when I want one.


8. When you're hugging someone wondering how soon you can release

Please end my suffering.


9. When you arrive at a social gathering and people rush to greet you with hugs

Let's not.

10. When you try to leave a social gathering by just waving to get out of goodbye hugs

Please no one make me hug you.


11. That one person who is allowed to hug you/touch you

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7 Ways To Fall Asleep Faster

We all love our sleep!

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