Heidelberg Project 3.0

Heidelberg Project 3.0

Detroit's iconic east-side art installation to be dismantled and transformed.

“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


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."


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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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."

Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."

3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."

4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.

"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.

“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.

Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."

25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.

"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.

"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."

30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.

"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"

32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."

34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."

35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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