Detroit Heidelberg Project – Renaissance Through Urban Art


An urban conceptual art installation by Tyree Guyton called The Heidelberg Project in the former central core of Detroit, Michigan, transforms a neighborhood first devastated by the 1967 riots into a public art project. Despite a recent arson fire and the city’s ongoing financial turmoil, the public art project set amid grassy fields persists as a monument to the imagination in the face of struggle. 

Detroit, urban reviatalization, public art

The Heidelberg Project reclaims an urban street in Detroit, transforming it into a public art project. Photo By Jack Eidt.

An Urban Street’s Conceptual Reboot

An urban conceptual art installation called The Heidelberg Project, named after its street location in the formerly central core of Detroit, Michigan, transforms a neighborhood first devastated by the 1967 riots, plagued by unemployment, poverty, financial redlining, racial segregation, then abandoned, burned, and largely demolished but for a few homes set among open grassy fields.

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Recycled-Reused-Resources (Trash) in the Name of Art

An abandoned neighborhood reused, with some controversy. This house, called Obstruction of Justice or OJ, burned to the ground in an arson fire last May. But the artist Tyree Guyton, along with other artists and support from the city, are rebuilding. Photo By Jack Eidt.

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Began in 1986 by artist Tyree Guyton, with assistance from family members and friends, an arresting post-apocalyptic artistic creation rises from the ashes of urban destruction. House remnants and vacated fields are adorned with paintings, assorted articles of trashed building material sculptures, stuffed animal menageries, discarded shoe arrangements, a Hummer skeleton, among other post-industrial artifacts and urban detritus, creating a de-facto park-district-tourist-attraction. Check out the following video for an explanation from Mr. Guyton and company (video sponsored by Daimler Financial Services and produced by Suede Productions)…

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An introduction to the Heidelberg Project.

Updated 25 June 2021

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist and designer, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Partners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt