Detroit II: Heidelberg (but not the one in Germany)
September 5, 2013
Powerful message on the side of a house at The Heidelberg Project

One of the highlights of a Detroit art tour is the outdoor work-in-progress art environment that is The Heidelberg Project.  Started in 1986 by Tyree Guyton, the houses on Heidelberg Street have fantastically painted exteriors, and also feature site-specific installations of found items.  Each house has a readily understandable theme--dots, numbers, pennies, stuffed animals.  The aesthetic is fun, playful, handmade, and yet also primitivist and primal, appealing to children and art enthusiasts alike.

A stroll down Heidelberg Street’s polka-dotted lane includes a visitation with Miss Otila of the Yellow House.  Here, visitors can sign-in to the 'guest book' for the neighborhood by tagging the yellow façade of her house for a small donation.  She also appears to be a rather savvy digital media marketing guru, quick to point out that Yellow House has a digital presence, and that images of signatures are uploaded onto the Yellow House’s Facebook page.

As an attempt to transform an inner-city neighborhood into a safe(r) space for community residents, The Heidelberg Project is testament to the potential healing power of art.

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