August 31, 2016
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about public art and how it is so radically different from city to city. Living in Chicago, I enjoy looking out the windows of the L at the small murals and tags that drape the city; but I always find myself craving something with a little more impact. This tangent brought me to thinking about the streets of San Francisco, Bay Area art, but ultimately my thoughts landed on an undervalued city – Detroit, Michigan.
While I’ve been to Detroit twice before (both times to go to Movement) I’ve never gotten the opportunity to see the infamous found-art installation, The Heidelberg Project. The outdoor art project in Detroit’s east side was started in 1986 and has grown and adapted over the years -starting with brightly painted polka-dots on homes to turning old toys into eerily beautiful sculpture. Much to my dismay, earlier this month, The Heidelberg Project artist, Tyree Guyton, announced that after 30 years the outdoor wonderland is being dismantled. Thinking I missed my chance to see the iconic installation, I started trying to find a reason to head up to Detroit before the project was completely gone. Lucky for me, my friends and I decided to road-trip up there for the Dirtybird BBQ on Belle Isle, with one pit-stop: The Heidelberg Project. No pictures could have prepared me for the experience of walking the grounds of the project, but looking below, let me share with you a glimpse of what I saw.