Simply, Tyree started this project/movement in 1986, by identifying his seemingly forgotten urban community on Detroit’s East Side as a place in great need of hope, inspiration, positive interaction, and artistic expression and sharing of ideas. Ironically, these qualities were already part of the community, but the “lightening rod” with which to collect this energy was missing. With the power of a thunderbolt, Mr. Guyton transformed Heidelberg Street’s rubbish into Renoir and crack houses into quirky ghetto galleries.
Today, known around the world as a witness to the power of creativity and how it has sparked the positive transformation of neighborhoods, the Heidelberg Project is expanding to other impoverished communities. As noted on heidelberg.org, “It is the agenda of the Heidelberg Project to take Tyree Guyton’s artistic philosophy of social empowerment through art into the realm of urban design, and in doing so provide a template for other post-industrial ‘shrinking cities.’”
All photography by Skaie Knox, HomeJelly