Looks like we all have one more place to add to our bucket list!
Tyree Guyton began the Heidelberg Project in Detroit in 1986. The project began with Guyton and community volunteers, most of which were children, painting colorful dots and attaching salvaged items to houses on Heidelberg street (on the outskirts of a traditionally African-American part of Detroit) in an effort to beautify the area. After riots in the area in 1967, the place had started going downhill.
According to the Heidelberg Project website, their mission is "rooted in the need to improve the under-resourced and horribly blighted Detroit community where the project was founded."
The project evolved from painting a few houses to a complete revamping of the community, with efforts focused on establishing an artists' colony, creative art center, and community garden, among other things.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the Heidelberg Project, which is no small feat. Six of the creative houses on the street have been demolished since 1991, leaving only four still standing. It has been garnering a lot of attention as one of the many examples of creative communities in the United States trying to promote arts advocacy and community cooperation.
Magic Trash & The Heidelberg Project are two children's books about the project. Today, Guyton teaches at Wayne State University, and the Heidelberg Project is still growing!
You can find out more about the Heidelberg Project at their website, or view more pictures at Eyemaze, Agility Nut, Brayham Contemporary Art, or Kirsten Alana. NPR has a segment on the project on their website. For those of you who are teachers with money to spend, you could purchase a DVD on the Heidelberg Project called Come Unto Me.