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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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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10 TV Shows You Need To Watch On Hulu

Hulu is slept on

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I have recently moved to watch shows and movies on Hulu and Netflix. Hulu has a lot of great shows and movies to offer that aren't on Netflix. While Netflix is still great, Hulu is definitely starting to grow on me. Here are some shows that I have watched or have started watching on Hulu that I think are pretty great!

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3. Castle Rock

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This show was great. Sometimes it was a bit annoying, but it is a classic show from the early 2000s. You really become invested in all the characters and your opinion may change on some characters because they grow and develop throughout the show.

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7. Obsession: Dark Desires

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8. Intervention

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9. Smallville

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10. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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