I recently had the opportunity to experience The Heidelberg Project in Detroit. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the project, it’s basically one huge art installation consisting of a block of houses on Heidelberg Street in an urban area on the East Side. Tyree Guyton is the founder and artistic director. He displays found objects in creative and thought-provoking ways.
I’m always up for an adventure, especially one that involves viewing local art in the community. So when a friend of mine suggested a visit, I immediately said “YES!” But I had no idea what I was in for.
Follow me as I take you on a guided tour. But beware. This is only my personal view. You have to experience it yourself to get the full story. A couple of tips: Definitely bring a camera. You can simply drive by the project, but I suggest that you walk through it. Total immersion. Let yourself feel something. You might even walk away feeling changed, as I did.
As an avid reader, children’s librarian, and author/illustrator, I walked through this exhibition feeling like I’d fallen into a fantasy story. Think Return to Oz meets Alice in Wonderland meets And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street meets The Phantom Tollbooth.
Here are some of my favorite houses!
Some of the recurring themes are:
Where can God be found?
The political commentary was endless…
There are many faces to the story being told.
Some provide comic relief
While others send a powerful message
Material and environment seem to coexist in some sort of beautiful irony.
There are very few words in this exhibition, so the words included have greater impact. As an artist, I found inspiration here.
What I like best about the project is that it’s a work in progress. Nothing, not even fire, can destroy it. Perhaps that says something about the city itself.
I’m not originally from Detroit. I moved to the metro area several years ago. The city loomed like an enormous tin man. But my first thought when I got here was that underneath all the industrial layers, it had heart. Even now, I have to admit that Detroit still remains somewhat of a mystery to me. At the same time, I support all of its revitalization efforts. After all, who doesn’t love a good comeback story?