Heidelberg Project, Detroit

Photo Gallery
There are more than thirty thousand abandoned houses in Detroit. In recent years the city has tried to demolish as many as they can, but lacks funding to get it done quickly. Another solution brought up 24 years ago is to create art out of or on top of these abandoned houses. The idea was first created by Tyree Guyton when he decided, along with the local children in his neighborhood, to start painting and decorating the streets and houses on his block in East Side Detroit. His work eventually evolved into The Heidelberg Project.   Considering that some of these houses are quite beautiful on their own, it’s wonderful to see them decorated in weird and fun ways. Unfortunately, it isn’t a project that the city endorses, since the city government destroyed parts of the neighborhood in 1991 and 1999. Despite that, the project grows on because there are always more abandoned houses (and houses that are lived in) to be painted.   Other neighborhoods and cities should take note of the concept. One can only imagine how cool a whole neighborhood might look if a project like this just got a little bit of funding and was backed by the local government. (photo and text: Elijah Wallechinsky)